Richard R. Buery, Jr. Salutes First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Initiative to Fight Childhood Obesity
President and CEO of The Children's Aid Society Says Agency’s Programs in Line with First Lady’s Objectives
Many of us have watched with deep concern as the children in our communities have become overweight or obese, seemingly overnight. The problem is national, affecting one in three children in the U.S. And according to First Lady Michelle Obama the problem is worse in African-American and Latino communities, affecting one in two children.
The First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative to tackle childhood obesity, announced on February 9, could not come at a more opportune time. Childhood obesity is known to contribute to high blood pressure in children and type 2 diabetes; these are illnesses that we used to see only in adults and that can affect children for their entire lives.
As Ms. Obama stated, it’s about how children feel, not how they look. When children eat healthfully and move more they will feel better and have more energy. Vulnerable children are constantly barraged with messages encouraging them to eat heavily processed foods. Let’s Move seeks to give parents the tools they need to help children get and stay healthy.
At The Children’s Aid Society, we are working to combat childhood obesity. Our Go!Healthy initiative educates children about wellness and the joys of healthful cooking and eating from birth through adolescence and beyond. Our health providers have even been able to measure BMI in almost 90% of their young patients – well over the national norm. (For more information about Children’s Aid’s Go!Healthy initiatives, please visit www.childrensaidsociety.org/go-healthy).
Children’s Aid emphasizes healthful eating, relaxation techniques and movement (including yoga) for children and their parents. We introduce youth to the pleasures of preparing and enjoying "real food" that is both nutritious and delicious: an essential step toward health and well-being. We have an innovative foodservice program in which meals for children in our community centers are cooked from scratch and based on whole and fresh foods, especially fruits, vegetables and whole grains. And we advocate for policy changes that enable parents to make healthy choices in their neighborhoods.
I envision a world where affordable and healthy fruit and vegetables are as easily available to children as potato chips and soda. In our programs, we have shown parents that achieving better health for their children and themselves can be fun! As the First Lady said when she described her initiative, small changes add up, and incremental changes can start making us all feel better right now. Let’s Move!
Richard R. Buery, Jr.
President & Chief Executive Officer
The Children's Aid Society
Richard R. Buery, Jr. was named the tenth President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children's Aid Society in October 2009. He is the first black leader of Children's Aid and is the youngest since Charles Loring Brace founded the agency in 1853.