The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
As someone who has traveled a good amount, I can’t say I’m always proud of some of the American stereotypes that are out there, worst of all - that Americans are overweight. This is more than a stereotype nowadays when one in three children in the United States is either overweight or obese. In order to fight the past few decades’ transition to unhealthy behavior, First Lady Michelle Obama started the Let’s Move Campaign in 2010.
Children have more access to technology which requires little to no movement to entertain them and parents have less time to make home cooked meals than ever before. The task of eating and engaging in more healthy behavior is the responsibility of every American citizen. The campaign makes the point that healthy activities and foods need to take place in all stages of childhood- prenatal, infancy, and early childhood through high school age. Through every developmental stage, others involved in a child’s life should be involved in promoting healthy habits. Parents, caregivers, schools, community members and food providers all need to be part of this movement for it to be successful.
The overarching goals of the campaign are strong and Michelle Obama has narrowed its scope through initiatives such as Let’s Move Faith and Communities, where focused attention is placed on faith-based and community organizations. These places serve as a great source to reach out to families and communities. These organizations could help by creating frequent exercise activities or nutrition classes and by feeding children over the summer when they may have more free time. Another initiative is the Chefs Move to School where Chefs are paired with schools and school districts to work with the students and staff to create healthy school environments. Many of the other initiatives aim their focus in one community or large organization in a community to help bring people together to increase activity and eat healthier.
In our own communities, we can make a difference too. Talmud Bavli describes, "By the breath of children God sustains the world” (Shabbat 119b). Judaism has always taught the importance of children and teaching them. Children need to be taught further than the standard school curriculum and must learn how to live a healthy lifestyle. Children are the next generation in America and if the Let’s Move Campaign can help raise healthy children, it will help raise a healthier America as well.
So what can you do? It is summer: go outside, get some fresh air and some fresh food. Bring a friend, a neighbor, or family member to engage in activity with you and be aware of what your community is doing, what needs to be done, or how you can get involved in the Let’s Move Campaign.
Rebecca Benoff is a rising junior at The George Washington University where she is majoring in psychology and minoring in Judaic studies. She is from Newtown, Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia, where she attended Congregation Shir Ami. As a Machon Kaplan participant, Rebecca interned at the Alliance for Justice this summer.