Corporate Relationships May Be The Biggest Accomplishment of the Let’s Move Campaign

Wal-Mart is one of the companies that has taken steps to provide healthier food to consumers.

Calling the partnerships “unlike that of any previous first lady,” The Washington Post discusses the lasting legacy of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which has been a fixture of much of her time in the White House.

Over the years, we’ve seen the First Lady dance with Jimmy Fallon, Sesame Street characters and at countless events, all to encourage children to burn some calories and have a little fun at the same time. Outwardly, it has been a PR campaign that has drawn many people in, even when it has pushed some away with “nanny state” accusations. #ThanksMichelleObama is a popular hashtag for young people to post photos of school lunches they don’t like. (Though it appears that many of these complaints about school lunches have less to do with how healthy they are more to do with the fact that food quality standards are a problem.)

But perhaps more effective than anything else have been the relationships she’s fostered with companies that, in many ways, have just as much influence over what Americans eat as anything else. For instance, one of FLOTUS’ partners is Walmart, which sells billions in groceries every year. And she has worked with companies to provide more health information on packaging. There are also now guidelines and other arrangements made with movie theaters, and restaurant chains to disclose calories and other information so customers can make healthier choices. Schools and child care facilities have become more health conscious in their meal choices.

Experts praise the First Lady in the article for the successes of the program and for being a willing partner, someone eager to discuss and negotiate.

On top of everything else, it’s been fun to watch the First Lady interact with people young and old, something she’s clearly very good at.

The narrow focus of the campaign has worked in its favor. Campaigns can quickly become unwieldy when they try to accomplish too much. And it has made modest achievements — the Centers for Disease Control say “[o]besity rates for children between the ages of 2 and 5 decreased between 2003 and 2012” though a third of children are still overweight or obese — in the face of a huge problem.