Kids' Exercise With Let's Move! Executive Director Robin Schepper
What kind of progress do you hope to see the Let's Move! initiative make in its second year? In one word, more. We've had such an outpouring of support, we hope to have more: More parents taking action in their local communities; more chefs joining Chefs Move to School; more schools achieving the Healthier US school Challenge; more sports and community organizations providing the infrastructure and programming so kids get 60 minutes of play; more companies listening to the needs of parents and helping parents make the healthy choice the easy choice; more focus on early childhood as a prevention strategy both in maternity hospitals and child-care centers; and more public-private collaborations to get healthy, fresh affordable food in under-served communities.
You got into politics by way of getting involved in your local community. How do you suggest moms get involved with Let's Move! in ways that will make a difference? Everyone has a role to play in helping solve the problem of childhood obesity and there are many ways to get involved. I first got involved when I started to walk my kids to school and realized that so many kids don't have the opportunity to walk to school because there isn't an adult to walk with them or there aren't sidewalks along the route. So, I worked with my school and local community to organize "walking school buses and rolling bike trains" and, eventually, more sidewalks were added to my neighborhood. You too can make a difference in your community. Work with your PTA and school principal to join the Healthier US schools Challenge which rewards schools that are doing good work to keep kids healthy. You can help build a garden at your school or in your community. You can challenge your faith organization to sign up to earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. If you think there isn't enough recess or PE at your school, say so. If you want your local store to carry more healthy products or more fresh fruit and vegetables, say so. Walmart just announced their Nutrition Charter that is designed to bring healthier and more affordable food to their customers. They did this not because we asked them to, but because moms and dads just like you asked them to and they responded. You have a voice to change things in your community.Decide what you are passionate about in your community and go for it. That's what makes America great, we can all make a difference if we use our voice and we do it together!
Any kid healthy eating tips from your personal experience as a mom that you'd like to share with our mom community? My sons are 5 and 8 and we have a rule in the house that at every meal they need to eat a protein and fruit or vegetable. It's tough to get them to try new food, but they're curious so I explain to them that food helps them grow big and strong. I've taught them that protein helps their muscles grow so they can be great athletes. And that milk help bones grow strong. And then I make up more games. I tell them that if they eat their carrots they'll develop "eagle eyes." And I tell them that if they eat their broccoli they'll be able to "hear like a wolf." I just try to make it fun. And when I hear my older son telling my younger one what I've said, I know it's sunk in.
How do YOU balance parenting, working and staying healthy? I couldn't do my job without support from my husband, family and friends. And I prioritize. Like many Moms, I get up early so I can exercise and be ready to go to work when the kids get up at 7am. I also go to bed at 10pm every night. For me, if I don't exercise I get grumpy, so it's a priority. At work, I prioritize and I figure out what has to get done today, this week, and this month. In the evenings at home, I make sure I'm home to read with them and I work to do something fun with them on the weekends, like walking the dog in the woods or playing catch in the backyard or riding bikes in the neighborhood. I think being playful and laughing are my best strategies. I can't do everything but I do what's most important and laugh along the way.
To join in the fight against childhood obesity and find out more about what YOU can do to get your family moving, check out our Big Help Group where you'll find tips, celeb videos, discussion groups and MORE from February 9th 'til March 23rd!We'd love to hear what YOU are doing to keep your family fit and healthy!