Let’s Move at the Olympics

With the Olympic Games upon us—the opening ceremony is tomorrow—organizers and others are hoping people watching at home will be inspired to get out and get active. In fact, a delegation of American athletes and other dignitaries led by Michelle Obama are taking the opportunity to promote the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity and foster wellness.

Tomorrow Mrs. Obama is scheduled to host an event for students and U.S. military children as part of that initiative, co-sponsored by the children’s television channel Nickelodeon.

Saturday, the first day of competition, will be “Let’s Move! Olympic Fun Day.” At least 200 communities are on board for encouraging kids to not only cheer on America’s Olympic competitors but to get out and get moving themselves. In addition to meetups, suggested activities include running, swimming, tennis, soccer, volleyball, and bike rides. The idea is to use the games on television to inspire kids at home to get in more activity.

“Some of my fondest memories when I was young and not-so-young involve watching the Olympics on TV and cheering on Team USA,” the First Lady told reporters.

She hopes to use the Olympic spectacle to encourage American kids to make sports and physical activity a part of their lives, starting lifelong habits that will keep them fit and healthy as they grow to adulthood.

The United States isn’t the only country trying to use this occasion to get kids fit. In the host country, England, officials are also creating programs that use the Olympic Games to spur young people into taking up sports.

There, the Places People Play program is supposed to upgrade and improve sports facilities and playing fields and recruit and train volunteers to create programs in various towns to use those refurbished fields and facilities.

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