Posted April 13th, 2010
I was honored to be one of only 10 people invited to Washington D.C. to provide input in developing the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative to end childhood obesity in a generation. I was the only person at the table representing the parents’ voice. Now, I’m back from D.C. and taking this opportunity to launch a Call to Action for parents. The urgency of knowing that if our children don’t start to eat better and be active every day, their life span will be shorter than their parents, begs for a grass-roots effort. I know parents can and will step up and use their fear to fuel the passion it will take to make things better for our children today and for the next generation.
The message I took away from the D.C. meeting was two-fold; reducing childhood obesity within a generation is a hefty goal that will require a cultural shift in the way Americans view eating and physical activity; and the top level people I met with are as overwhelmed as the rest of the health advocates by the enormity of it all.
Reality check! Isn’t taking on childhood obesity a pretty lofty goal for a mom?
I’m sticking with my area of expertise – the parents! I am a parent and I have been working with parents as a volunteer and a professional for 25 years. Parents are continually blamed for everything that goes wrong with children. In this case everyone is culpable – home, school, community, business and yes, even government. I know, we as parents can and will be accountable for our part. Now is the time for a Call to Action for parents. With one strong united voice, we can make others accountable for this as well.
Can I do it?
I have worked with parents who have done remarkable things to improve eating and physical activity for children. It is time to highlight the good things parents are doing and unite their voices. The White House received 2500 comments on the Let’s Move web site. I’m certain I will hear from more than 2500 parents who want to unite and force change.
Some naysayers may think I am an “ant trying to move a rubber tree plant”, but those who know me, understand that there is more here than “high hopes.” I am no stranger to taking on parent initiatives. In 2005, I led a sex education parent initiative for Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm and I am known among high levels of state and federal government as the “voice of parents.” This call to action is one you will want to join because, as I always say, “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
Join My Call to Action: Visit www.parentactionforhealthykids.org and become a Parent Champion on behalf of healthier children and support the Let’s Move initiative. Together lets roll up our sleeves, get to work, and create the kind of change that will leave a legacy of good health for our children because when we know better, we do better.
**This information has been shared by Barb Flis, mother of two and creator of Parent Action for Healthy Kids.