Mrs. Obama kicks festivities off with TV blitz, and travels to Mississippi, Chicago and Missouri for events spotlighting school lunch, food deserts and physical fitness; Rachael Ray, Kelly Ripa, Robin Roberts, Bob Harper, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, Paul Rodriguez will participate...
First Lady Michelle Obama will embark on a two-day tour with visits to three states to celebrate the third anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign, the White House announced today. Between Wednesday, Feb. 27 and Thursday, Feb. 28, Mrs. Obama will fly to Clinton, Mississippi, her hometown of Chicago, Illinois and then to Springfield, Missouri, to "showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children," according to the schedule issued by the East Wing. (Above: Mrs. Obama in Dallas with Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass during last year's anniversary tour)
The First Lady will unveil new campaign components and partnerships during her trip. The festivities will be preceded by a national TV blitz, and include follow-up digital social media events. Let's Move! turned three on Feb. 9, and Mrs. Obama kicks off the celebration this Friday, Feb. 22, in New York, when she will have her first sit-down interview with Jimmy Fallon, who helped her mark last year's second anniversary.
While in New York, Mrs. Obama will also film a segment for Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, and discuss a "new Let’s Move! partnership that makes finding healthy, reliable recipes easy for busy parents," the White House said.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan will join Mrs. Obama as she tapes an episode of The
Dr. Oz Show to "talk about how physical activity affects both children’s
health and academic achievement," the White House said. Good Morning America will air on Feb. 26, and The Dr. Oz Show airs on Feb. 28.
Mississippi and school lunch - Mrs. Obama appeared via Skype on ABC's Rachael Ray Show today, and during the segment announced that celebrity chef Rachael Ray will join her in Clinton, Mississippi for her first big tour event on Feb. 27, as she hosts a cooking competition between school chefs to highlight the changes to the National School Lunch Program that took effect last Fall, thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the legislative centerpiece of Let's Move!.
The First Lady and Ray "chose to highlight school lunches in Mississippi, which was rated the most obese state in the nation for several years, because the state’s childhood obesity rates have declined by 13% among elementary school students in recent years," the White House said. The Clinton Public School District "mobilized the entire community to make their schools healthier to support their children’s physical wellness and academic achievement."
The event is titled "Change is Happening," and the culinary battle will air on Ray's show on March 11.
Chicago and physical fitness - The next day, Feb. 28, Mrs. Obama will be in her hometown of Chicago in the morning for an event titled "Bringing Physical Activity Back to Schools," and she will "make a major announcement," the White House said.
Secretary Duncan will be with Mrs. Obama, as will Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Olympic gymnasts Dominique Dawes (co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition) and Gabby Douglas; Olympic runner Allyson Felix; TV fitness guru Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser; comedian Paul Rodriguez, tennis great Serena Williams, and NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker, among others.
The event will include "a surprise musical guest and thousands of Chicago area teachers and students," according to the White House. It is being hosted by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
"The First Lady will call on leaders to work together to support schools’ efforts to ensure that all kids get the physical activity they need to stay healthy and succeed in school," the White House said.
Missouri and food deserts - In the afternoon on Feb. 28, Mrs. Obama will fly to Springfield, MO, for an event spotlighting her work to make healthier food more affordable and accessible. With Let's Move! Mrs. Obama has pledged to eliminate America's more than 6,000 USDA-identified "food deserts" by 2017. Walmart and other grocers in 2011 agreed to build 1,500 grocery markets in underserved areas, and Mrs. Obama will tour a Walmart that was built as part of the commitment.
The First Lady will also "see changes Walmart has made to reduce sodium and added sugars from packaged food items, to make healthier food more affordable, and to include a simple front-of-package seal for identifying healthier food choices," the White House said, efforts that are part of the company's "Nutrition Charter" created for the partnership.
After her Walmart tour, Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks "about how supporting the health of American families is also good for business, and remind consumers that it’s up to them to continue demanding healthier options," the White House said.
Mrs. Obama traveled to Chicago in 2011 for the first-ever Let's Move! Food Desert Summit hosted by Mayor Emanuel.
March social media events - The First Lady's social media events for the anniversary will be on Monday, March 4, and Wednesday, March 6. On March 4, Mrs. Obama will have her first-ever Google+ Hangout, "a completely virtual conversation with parents and kids from around the country," the East Wing said. It will be moderated by Kelly Ripa, co-host of daytime talk show LIVE with Kelly and Michael.
For a chance to join the Hangout, Google+ is "inviting families to share their thoughts and questions on how we could raise healthier families and communities on the Let's Move YouTube channel," the East Wing said. Entries must be submitted by Thursday, February 28, 2013 on the Let’s Move! YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/letsmove.
The First Lady’s Hangout will be streamed live on LetsMove.gov, the Let’s Move! YouTube Channel and the White House Google+ Page at 11:10 AM ET on March 4.
Twitter - On March 6, Mrs. Obama will answer questions about Let’s Move! using her office’s @FLOTUS twitter account. Updates from her tour events will also be posted on @FLOTUS and @LetsMove, with the hashtag #LetsMoveTour.
Childhood obesity summit - On March 8, Mrs. Obama will give the keynote address at Partneship for a Healthier America's childhood obesity summit, Building a Healthier Future, in Washington, DC. Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass will also host a culinary competition, the Great American School Lunch Challenge, during the conference.
Since Mrs. Obama launched Let's Move! on Feb 9, 2010, "parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders and kids themselves have stepped up to improve the health of our nation’s children," the White House said.
The First Lady's three-year-old campaign is being credited by the White House with reversing trends in the nation's prevalence of obesity.
"Families now have access to more information to make healthier decisions for their children. Young people now have more opportunities for physical activity in their communities. Food in schools has been dramatically improved. More Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food closer to home. And the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off, and even declined in some cities and states," the White House said.
. CLICK HERE for the White House list of accomplishments for the third anniversary.
For last year's second anniversary celebration, Mrs. Obama had a three-day national tour with stops in Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, and Florida. CLICK HERE for links to all posts about the First Lady's second anniversary tour.
*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama