Let's Move! : bringing Michelle Obama's message on healthy eating and environmental change to the media
This afternoon, with the official announcement of her "Let's Move" campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama brings unprecedented attention to the issues of healthy eating and physical activity--and an equally unprecedented opportunity for Rapid Responders to highlight the policy and environmental changes already happening in their communities. See our talking points, below.
Don't be fooled by the media coverage-this campaign is not about telling kids to show self-restraint. Mrs. Obama today referred to a variety of cross-sector environmental approaches, from building sidewalks and creating safe neighborhoods to supporting farmers markets and decreasing food industry marketing to children. (You can view her remarkable speech here.) The "Let's Move" campaign is focused on four pillars, each of which echoes our core strategy of changing public policies and reshaping community environments to build healthier communities. The four pillars are:
- Offering parents the tools and information they need to make better decisions about their children's nutrition.
- Getting healthier foods in schools.
- Improving the accessibility and affordability of healthy foods.
- Physical activity--increasing opportunities for kids to play and move.
You can help shape media coverage on what is sure to be a high-level, ongoing discussion. We urge you to reach out to and amplify the work your community is doing, through direct strategic outreach to press, Letters to the Editors, Op-Eds and blog posts.
Here are some talking points to get you started:
- Move the message: From Obesity to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity strategies. Use the word 'obesity' as a starting point to educate media about the broader structural and environmental factors that set the stage for unhealthy eating: "When people hear the word obesity, they are used to thinking about what individuals can do, like go on a diet, but when Michelle Obama says 'obesity', she is talking about 'what we all can do' to give people better access to healthy eating and physical activity."
- Reaffirm the importance of an environmental approach.
This campaign is recognition from the very highest level that what communities are doing across California works: policy and environmental approaches make for healthier communities. Reporters may want to focus on individual behavior, but encourage them to broaden their lens to look at environmental change-and use the four pillars as a starting point. This letter to the editor, published yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle, is a great example of how Katie Woodruff from Berkeley Media Studies Group used the "healthier foods in schools" pillar as a launching point to talk about her issue: soda marketing to children.
- Give specific examples from your community. Community Prevention is harder to understand without examples. Explain how your local story fits within the 'Let's Move' priorities. That gives media the local angle they want and helps promote individual communities' work. For more strategies, like "Safe neighborhoods, communities, and buildings must support physical activity as part of everyday life," and "Fresh, local, and healthy food should be available and affordable in all communities, " please re-visit "Promising Strategies for Creating Healthy Eating and Active Living Environments."
Share your advocacy efforts with us! We strongly urge Rapid Responders to send us letters that you submit and those that are published. With your permission, we may select your letter to be highlighted as a resource on our website for other advocates to see. Please send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make the economic case for prevention. Prevention doesn't just build healthier communities, it saves money. Prevention Institute's study, Prevention for a Healthier America, shows that for every $1 invested in community-based prevention, the return amounts to $5.60 within five years-a 5-to-1 return on investment.
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WHAT IS THE STRATEGIC ALLIANCE?
The Strategic Alliance is reframing the debate on nutrition and physical activity away from a focus solely on individual choice and lifestyle towards one of environmental influences and corporate and government responsibility. Current Steering Committee members are: California Adolescent Nutrition and Fitness Program (CANFit), California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) , California Project LEAN, California WIC Association (CWA), Child Care Food Program Roundtable, Latino Health Access, Partnership for the Public's Health, Prevention Institute, PolicyLink, Samuels & Associates and Public Health Law & Policy.
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