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Our Blog: May 20, 2016

Reminiscing on the First Lady’s Visit: Grow Fit Draws Applause in D.C.

Today we were honored to be recognized by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) for the work we do every day to help children Grow Fit and learn to make healthy choices.

Speaking at the fifth Annual Building a Healthier Future Summit, PHA President and CEO Larry Soler recalled the impression our children made when First Lady Michelle Obama joined us as we announced our company’s commitment to joining the PHA and the Let’s Move! Childcare initiative.

Here’s what he shared with nonprofit, government, private sector, philanthropic, and academic leaders who gathered at the event to generate solutions that will help children lead healthier lives: 

“When we announced the Learning Care Group child care commitment, we brought all these adorable 3-year olds into a room for snack time. On the table were tomatoes and cut up cucumber and carrots and hummus. The kids immediately were munching along happily – and even when the First Lady and press corps walked in, none of the kids stopped eating.

They were three years old! They didn’t seem to recognize any of the action going on around them. But I’m there in the back and one of the press whispers to me with a cynical tone, ‘so you put this stuff out just for the First Lady’s visit, didn’t you?’

I was incredulous – not because of the work we’d done, but as a parent! Anyone who’s tried to get a three-year to eat anything new knows that it’s very difficult the first time.

But that’s exactly why I’m optimistic. Those kids – and so many others – are growing up in a world where those healthier snacks are the norm. Where fruit and veggies are expected, just like physical activity breaks and walking paths. They are growing up in a world where they’re USED to the healthy choice being the easy choice.

So please, keep asking me why I’m so optimistic. Ask me because it gives me a chance to remind you of all the power and change that we are making happen. It gives me a chance to share stories like this one. It gives me a chance to remind us all that while work remains ahead of us, we have accomplished too much to turn back now. And most of all, because the question itself gives me hope.”

Now in its fourth year, our Grow Fit program provides a clearly defined structure for nutrition and physical fitness at all of our schools nationwide. We’ve prioritized nutrition and fitness as a foundation for supporting children’s healthy development and ensuring they have the energy to learn. The program has become part of school culture through wholesome meals – including surprisingly sophisticated offerings such as hummus – curricular activities that emphasize movement and fun special events. It’s how we’re nurturing a healthier generation.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama gives out high fives after learning a dance and exercise with children at a La Petite Academy chid care center in Bowie, Maryland, February 27, 2014. Obama made the visit to highlight the commitment that the parent company, Learning Care Group, has made to the child care best practices in her Let's Move! Initiative for children's health. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH EDUCATION) - RTR3FSR1