The Let’s Move Initiative, spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama to combat the rising numbers of childhood obesity, is separated into five pillars including: creating a healthy start for children, empowering parents and caregivers, providing healthy food in schools, improving access to healthy, affordable foods and increasing physical activity.
“It has been beneficial in what we do at Union City,” said Councilman Vince Williams. “We are trying to teach kids the facts about childhood obesity and staying heavy.”
Of the five pillars of the Let’s Move Initiative, Union City was honored for demonstrating creating a healthy start for children, providing healthy food in schools and increasing physical activity.
“I was notified of it in early November,” said Williams. “We were excited that we got seven medals for achieving several of the initiatives goals. There are some logistical things that you have to do to meet those requirements.”
For Union City, this meant taking a more aggressive stance than in past on improving the lives of children.
Williams said the mayor and city council became particularly vested and involved with the schools in the area, especially in terms of ensuring that healthier school breakfast and lunches were provided.
To encourage more residents to live more active lifestyles, Union City also had a bit of improvement to make.
“Our parks and recreation facilities offer activities such as zumba, walks, all the sports — little league baseball, football and cheerleading,” said Williams. “We have had to increase our staff at the facilities because there has been more participation for residents.”
There was also more participation as far as school breakfast was concerned.
“We got the bronze, silver and gold medal for providing healthy food for schools for having at least 80 percent of schools participating in the school breakfast program,” said Williams.
Union City were not awarded for two of the pillars of the initiative — empowering parents and caregivers as well as improving access to healthy, affordable foods—but there will be efforts to improve, according to Williams.
“We are embarking on creating more passive park recreation space throughout the city so everyone can come out and enjoy themselves,” he said.