Sound Cities Association assists in launch of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative

Special to the Reporter

According to King County Public Health Department, one in five youth is overweight or obese in King County.

To solve this epidemic, Sound Cities Association (SCA) is partnering with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to recruit the various SCA member cities to become nationally recognized in the Let’s Move! initiative. SCA represents 36 cities in King County and provides a voice for nearly one million people.

The collaboration SCA offers with the different regional and national networks will set King County well on its way toward making it a healthier place for its community members to live. SCA envisions all 36 member cities to join Let’s Move! to provide the one million residents a healthy community.

“Obesity is one of the biggest public health threats facing our nation today and tackling this epidemic is an all-hands-on-deck situation,” says Dr. Patrick O’Carroll, regional health aministrator for HHS Region X and Assistant Surgeon General. “Cities, towns and counties play a critical role in shaping public policy that create environments where it’s easier to grow up healthy. We are calling upon local elected officials to join this effort.”

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady in 2010, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within this county. Combining evidence based strategies, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future. This campaign is aimed at fostering community environments that support healthy choices, provide healthier food options in schools, promote access to healthy affordable food, and encourage children to become more physically active.

City of Kenmore’s Mayor David Baker, SCA board member, has been actively involved since the launch of Let’s Move! in 2010. Kenmore is currently ranked second in the nation for completion of key health and wellness goals for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC).

“The childhood obesity epidemic needs to be addressed immediately,” said Baker. “As elected officials, we need to do everything in our power to promote healthy choices for our residents to live the highest quality of life our community can provide them.”

The NLC awards medals to each participating LMCTC for their achievements in providing programs and services that enhance the citizen’s quality of life. All Let’s Move! cities have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal to which they commit to as part of the initiative. Medals are awarded to local elected officials on behalf of their cities achievements in each of the following five goal areas: • Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education settings

• Goal II: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served

• Goal III: Smart Servings for Students: To provide healthy food to children and youth, local elected officials commit to expanding access to meal programs before, during and after the school day, and/or over the summer months.

• Goal IV: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

• Goal V: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity.

Many of these goals are already achieved by current programs and services that cities provide within their communities. Gaining national recognition for the excellent efforts that King County cities are putting forth to help their citizen’s live healthy lives is easy and well deserved. Benefits of becoming a Let’s Move! city follows: recognition on a national level, networking opportunities with other cities, technical assistance in form of tools and resources provided by the NLC and HHS, and joining a national movement to enhance the future of our community members.

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