President Donald Trump has put a spike in yet another Obama initiative by ending Michelle Obama’s beloved “Let’s Move” kid’s health program and revamping it to emphasize organized sports.
Presidents have been hosting a kid’s health initiative of one sort or another for decades and Barack Obama’s version of the presidential health advocacy program was entitled the “President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.” But, after a year in office, President Trump finally turned his attention to the program and has put his stamp on it renaming the initiative the “President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.”
Gone is Michelle Obama’s focus on individual exercise and replacing it is an emphasis on sporting events to keep kids active.
On February 27, Trump issued a new Executive Order reading in part as follows:
Good health, including physical activity and proper nutrition, supports Americans’, particularly children’s, well‑being, growth, and development. Participating in sports allows children to experience the connection between effort and success, and it enhances their academic, economic, and social prospects. Many of America’s leaders attribute their lifetime achievements to lessons learned through sports participation and athletic activity. Additionally, youth sports help working parents and guardians by providing their children opportunities to engage in productive, positive activities outside of school. Unfortunately, during the past decade youth participation in team sports has declined. As of 2016, only 37 percent of children played team sports on a regular basis, down from 45 percent in 2008. Particularly troubling is that sports participation disproportionately lags among young girls and children who are from economically distressed areas.
This national strategy shall focus on children and youth in communities with below-average sports participation and communities with limited access to athletic facilities or recreational areas.
Trump is hoping that actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno — lead in the 1970s/80s TV show “The Incredible Hulk” — will head the effort.
The new initiative aims to develop a national strategy to encourage kids to participate in sports programs saying, “This national strategy shall focus on children and youth in communities with below-average sports participation and communities with limited access to athletic facilities or recreational areas.”
The executive director of the National Alliance for Youth Sports, John Engh, was thrilled with the new direction for the president’s health initiative telling the Washington Times, “We definitely support the whole concept. Team sports plays a huge role in the development of kids today.”
Ivanka Trump also spoke about the new program in a recent op-ed, the Times said:
“Promoting youth sports is an important pillar of our Working Families Agenda,” [Ivanka] wrote on the NBC News website. “When young people have more opportunities to participate in positive, supervised after-school sports programs, studies suggest They are less likely to be involved in, or be a victim of, crime.”
“We believe that every child deserves the chance to play and engage in sports and recreational activities, regardless of their zip code, athletic potential or financial status. We are working to remove barriers to entry so that students can improve their lives and their future outcomes, and so that we adequately prepare the next generation of leaders to lift up our communities and strengthen our nation,” she said.
Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program was often attacked over its inclusion of the former First Lady’s strict and unappetizing school lunch policies.
This is not the first Michelle Obama program President Trump has ended. As part of his program of whittling away at the Obama legacy one program at a time, slowly erasing Obama from Washington, he also ended the very school lunch policy over which the former First Lady took so much heat.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.