First Lady Michelle Obama created the national Let’s Move initiative as a way of fighting childhood obesity, motivating Americans to lead more healthy lives and teaching young people about exercise and good nutrition. Let’s Move in Indian Country is an extension of the national campaign, tailored for Native communities. The campaign acknowledges that many Native communities are already providing good examples of healthy food and sustainable community-based practices.

The initiative is a call to action for tribal and community leaders to collaborate in ways to help solve the problem of obesity. It outlines four goals:            

  • Create a healthy start to life: work to increase breastfeeding education to new moms throughout medical facilities in Indian Country
  • Develop healthy learning communities: help schools promote healthy eating and more physical activity
  • Increase physical activity: work to include physical activity at tribal events and throughout Native communities
  • Increase access to affordable, healthy, traditional foods: help communities strengthen local food systems

The Let’s Move in Indian Country website includes various resources and tools for helping Native families make adjustments to their current lifestyles with:

  •  Tips for healthy eating, information about national nutritional guidelines (My Plate) and Healthy traditional recipes
  • A physical activity kit created by the Indian Health Service
  • Toolkit and resource guide for communities, schools and individuals with support for eating well and increasing opportunities for physical activities

Just Move It is a national campaign to help indigenous communities promote physical activity. Run by the Healthy Native Communities Partnership, its goals are:

  • Get people thinking and talking about being active
  • Promote the idea that physical activity is fun
  • Bring together people of all ages and abilities
  • Build family and community support

Just Move It helps its partners organize events designed to motivate entire communities, rather than individuals.  Since 2003, the organization has worked with 340 partners around North America to execute events attended by more than 18,000 participants. Taking part is simple: you can join the movement by signing up as a partner program. The organization provides tools and support to plan, advertise and orchestrate events that focus on fitness, including walks, biking events and others. Consider these successes:

  • A 12-week Just Move It Boot Camp at the Sacramento Native American Health Center included aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility, kickboxing and more. And, it paved the way for repeat programs.
  • A series of walks called Walk For the Health of It on the Fort Berthoud Reservation in North Dakota encouraged more than 300 community members to walk throughout the summer months
  • Just Move It Ontario invited 90 elementary schools to participate in a four-week physical activity challenge and distributed recess activity kits to registered schools