BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – On Monday, March 7, the Blue Springs City Council will hear a presentation from Judy Baker about First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. This initiative was created by the First Lady and the Department of Health and Human Services as part of the nation’s effort to raise a healthier generation of children. The City Council Meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Howard Brown Public Safety Building, 1100 SW Smith Street, Blue Springs.
Judy Baker is the Region 7 director for the US Department of Health and Human Services. Baker is a former member of the Missouri House of Representatives, representing the 25th District before being appointed as HHS Regional Director in 2009. In the legislature, she was a lead sponsor of several health care reform initiatives and related legislation, and also founded the "Healthy Missourians" Caucus, a bi-partisan caucus that promoted prevention and responsible approaches to health care delivery in the state.
“Let’s Move! is driven by principles that will improve the health of children from a young age through good nutrition and physical activity, while giving parents the information they need to make that possible,” said Baker. “I applaud Blue Springs and their multi-stake holder approach in reducing childhood obesity by including elected officials, schools, faith-based and community-based organization, local businesses and health care professionals.”
Dave Wright, President of StandUp Blue Springs, will then outline the proposed plan for engaging citizens of Blue Springs to develop and implement innovative ideas for improving the health of the children throughout the community. He will recommend two citizen-led summits, June 18 and July 9, facilitated by StandUp, similar to those that helped develop the Dog Park at Grounds Park and the Disc Golf Course at Wilbur Young Park. At the completion of these summits, a prioritized list of projects linked to the Let’s Move! goals, teams committed to seeing these projects through, as well as a plan for implementing the projects will be in place. StandUp will also ensure ongoing communication with key stakeholder groups which are already committed to this important initiative.
“I have always been impressed with the creativity of the citizens of this community,” said Wright. “We have a history of citizen-led initiatives, focused on making Blue Springs an even better city. Let’s Move! gives us an opportunity to use the ideas and energy of the people who live here to improve the health of our children and grandchildren.”
In December 2010, Mayor Ross attended a National League of Cities Conference session where U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Judy Baker discussed the Let’s Move! Program. Mayor Ross and several staff members met with the Board of StandUp Blue Springs to discuss the possibility of becoming a Let’s Move! city. In January 2011, Mayor Ross and staff met with several community leaders to determine their level of interest and commitment for the program. StandUp Blue Springs has agreed to facilitate this initiative.
“The program is designed to encourage communities to adopt a long-term, sustainable, and holistic approach to fight childhood obesity,” said Mayor Ross. “This initiative allows the City to partner with community organizations like StandUp Blue Springs to address this important public health issue, with the overall goal being to develop a healthier city for residents of all ages.”
Let’s Move! is a comprehensive approach to engage the many sectors that reach children, including schools, parents, families, community leaders, governments and businesses. To become a Let’s Move! city, a municipality chooses at least one action to take during a 12-month period in each of the following four pillar areas:
1) Help parents make healthy family choices;
2) Create healthy schools;
3) Provide access to healthy and affordable food; and
4) Promote physical activity.
After the presentation, Mayor Ross will request the City Council to pass a resolution in support of the Let’s Move! initiative and supporting grant applications to be submitted by StandUp to provide funding for the program.
For more information about Let’s Move! Blue Springs, visit www.bluespringsgov.com/letsmove or for information, contact Sheryl Morgan at (816) 655-0495.
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