Summer is a great opportunity for communities to address two of the challenges facing kids nationwide when school lets out: unhealthy eating habits and the summer reading gap. That’s why First Lady Michelle Obama has launched the Administration-wide Let’s Read. Let’s Move. initiative to combat childhood obesity and summer reading loss by encouraging youth to read and participate in physical activity, as well as providing access to healthy food. As part of that initiative, I joined a group of students today in upper Manhattan who are leading the charge against childhood obesity. They are the Mighty Milers of PS 128 and they have collectively run over 42,000 miles this year!
Launched in 2004, New York Road Runners’ Mighty Milers program seeks to introduce the essential habits of an active, healthy lifestyle by motivating young children to engage in regular exercise and play. The program is designed for children of all fitness levels and is offered free of charge to low-income schools across the nation. There are over 350 participating schools and community centers in all 50 states and more than 70,000 runners from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade.
We had a great time today running laps, jumping rope and tackling the obstacle course. The Mighty Milers of PS 128 are energized about exercise and they prove that schools and communities from anywhere in the country can find ways to get moving regardless of age or fitness level.
As a runner myself, I can attest to the power of fitness in staying healthy both physically and mentally, so it was a privilege to run with these ambitious students. We’re working across the Administration to find ways to empower schools, parents and kids to incorporate healthy choices into their own lives. These habits will better prepare our children for the future – and create savings for the country down the road as we reduce the rates of obesity-related health problems.
Peter Orzag is the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. You can also find this blog post on the OMBlog.