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February 24, 2010

YMCA Hosts Michelle Obama

The Alexandria YMCA, part of the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington hosted First Lady Michelle Obama, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin who announced plans on Jan. 28, 2010 to help Americans lead healthier lives through better nutrition, regular physical activity, and by encouraging communities to support healthy choices. They talked directly with national and local leaders, parents and health professionals about reducing overweight and obesity in adults and children. (photo included below)

YMCA of the USA President and CEO Neil Nicoll opened the event and introduced Dr. Benjamin, who released the Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. The report highlights the alarming trend of overweight and obese Americans, and asks Americans to join her in a grassroots effort to commit to changes that promote the health and wellness of our families and communities.

The First Lady recently announced that she will launch a major initiative on childhood obesity in the next few weeks and has asked the YMCA to be engaged in those efforts. Today, she discussed her firsthand experience with the challenges of raising healthy kids in today's environment and mentioned the role of organizations such as the YMCA in helping kids and families adopt healthy lifestyles.

YMCAs provide safe and affordable spaces and programs to help both kids and adults learn, grow and thrive. In fact, for nearly 160 years, YMCAs have offered programs that strengthen the physical, emotional and spiritual health of millions of individuals from all backgrounds and in all types of communities. Over the past several years, we have increased our efforts to help stem the tide of rising obesity rates.

Being recognized by the First Lady, Secretary of HHS and the Surgeon General is truly an honor and an indication of their trust in us as a movement to help move the needle on the important issue of reducing obesity and chronic disease. We cannot stress enough the significance of today. It further elevated what YMCAs are doing across the nation to support healthy living among all Americans.

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