Dear MRC Leaders and Volunteers,
As we embark on a new year, many people will resolve to make positive changes in their lives. I encourage you to capitalize on this by promoting and being involved in public health initiatives in 2011. The Medical Reserve Corps is in a key position in communities across the country to directly impact the health of Americans. Your reach and breadth of knowledge, skills, and service is inspiring. I am excited by the possibilities for the MRC!
One way the MRC can make a huge impact right now is through First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign. This campaign has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! combats the epidemic of childhood obesity by engaging every sector that impact the health of children and providing schools, families and communities with simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and live healthier. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers can play a key role in carrying out the objectives of this important campaign in their communities.
Let’s Move Faith and Communities inspires healthy eating and physical activity. To learn more about how you can further awareness and prompt action in communities across the country, visit this link. Let’s Move Cities and Towns encourages mayors and elected officials to make a commitment to a long-term, sustainable, and holistic approach to fight childhood obesity, recognizing that every city is different, and every town will require a distinct approach to the issue. Including the MRC in the approach can be part of that commitment. More information can be found here.
As community level volunteers with a focus on health, you are in an ideal position to directly impact children’s health and make a real difference in solving the problem of childhood obesity. Each encounter you have with a parent or caregiver is an opportunity to help them understand the importance of optimal nutrition and physical activity from the earliest moments of life through adulthood. You can, for example, make BMI screening a part of your unit’s public health activities, talk to new parents about first foods and breastfeeding, and consider sharing your expertise with other community groups and organizations that support childhood health and wellness.
Thank you for the efforts you are already taking to improve the health and safety of your communities. I know that, together, we can do even more to reduce the number of overweight and obese children.
Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA
United States Surgeon General