WASHINGTON – First Lady Michelle Obama today joined children and families at Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play to celebrate the success of the Million PALA Challenge, a joint initiative of Let’s Move! and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN). Launched in September 2010, the Million PALA Challenge was created to motivate one million Americans to get active and earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) in a year. Since the start of the challenge, more than 1.7 million Americans have gotten active and earned their PALA, far exceeding the initiative’s goal.
“I’m so proud of all the kids and families who rose to the challenge and got active this year,” said First Lady Michelle Obama, who earned her PALA last fall. “The Million PALA Challenge helped shine a spotlight on the childhood obesity epidemic and I know we can all keep up the momentum and keep moving to help our kids lead healthy, active lives.”
To celebrate this success, Mrs. Obama “turned off” Nickelodeon for three hours during Worldwide Day of Play to encourage kids to go outside and play. Additionally, the First Lady made a surprise visit at the event, where she cheered kids on at the obstacle course and congratulated the 1.7 million Americans who achieved their PALA.
“Congratulations to all of the PALA achievers, especially those who took that first step to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Not only did we meet our goal, we exceeded it and we are not finished yet.”
PALA is a long-standing PCFSN program that rewards youth who are active for 60 minutes a day and adults 30 minutes a day, five days a week for six out of eight weeks. Today, the First Lady also announced the launch of PALA+, a new and improved PALA that incorporates elements of MyPlate and is designed to motivate Americans to make physical activity and healthy eating part of their daily life.
In addition to fulfilling the physical activity requirements of PALA, PALA+ participants must choose one nutrition goal per week from eight healthy eating options, and build upon each over the six-week period. By the end of the program, participants will have learned how to incorporate six healthy eating habits into their everyday lives. Participants can learn more about PALA+ or sign up at www.presidentschallenge.org. After completing the program, participants will receive a free, downloadable certificate signed by PCFSN Co-Chairs, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and three-time U.S. Olympic Gymnast Dominique Dawes. Participants can also order a certificate signed by the President.
Today, local kids representing community and faith-based organizations, sports leagues and health promotion groups that helped promote the Million PALA Challenge received their PALA certificates from PCFSN members on Worldwide Day of Play’s main stage. The following organizations each helped more than 100,000 people get active and achieve PALA through their programs over the past year:
General Mills Foundation
Miami-Dade County Public Schools
National Basketball Association (NBA)/Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) through NBA/WNBA Fit
National Football League (NFL) PLAY 60 Challenge & Fuel Up to Play 60
Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) and The First Tee
United States Tennis Association (USTA)