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michelle obama let's move chicago First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a "Let's Move! Active Schools" event with athletes and students at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., Feb. 28, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Let's Move All Day!

First Lady kicks off new physical fitness program in Chicago

By Natalie Wexler | March 7 , 2013

On February 28, First Lady Michelle Obama returned home to Chicago to celebrate the third anniversary of her Let's Move! program.

The event was held at McCormick Place and kicked off the Active Schools campaign. Active Schools promotes American school kids engaging in physical activity during the school day.

The event began with remarks from the First Lady, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and a large group of athletes. They discussed the importance of physical education when it comes to learning.

"Only one in three of our kids is active every day," the First Lady said. "And as Secretary Duncan said, that's not just bad for their bodies, it's also bad for their minds, because being less active can actually hurt kids' academic performance as well."

The First Lady shared her experiences growing up and being active all the time. She would go to the park with her brother, Craig, go to the park, play games, and just have fun.

Fun, she said, is key to being physically active.

"[Active Schools is] about all of us coming together to once again make being active a way of life for our kids," the Firs Lady said. "And it's about showing our kids that being active is fun."

The real fun at the event began when the speeches were over.

After all of the featured speakers spoke, the curtain was lifted and 6,500 kids from Chicago public schools came running out, each wearing a white Let's Move! t-shirt. The athletes then came out one by one and stood on a different platform while Olympian Alison Felix – who was the emcee of the event – asked them questions.

The athletes included: Bo Jackson, who played both professional baseball and football at the same time; Colin Kapernick, the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers; gold-medal Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas; professional skateboarder Paul Rodriguez; and tennis star Serena Williams.

Once all the questions were asked, each of the athletes went to the main platform where three trainers led all of the kids in exercises. The athletes even went into the crowd of kids and exercised with them. The First Lady came out in workout attire and showed the kids exercises that they could do at home.

At the end of the day, the kids were surprised with a special performance from Jordin Sparks.

Overall, the event was really exciting and the kids seemed really inspired by the call to be more physically active all day long!

At the Let's Move! event, Kid Reporter Natalie Wexler interviewed Education Secretary Arne Duncan about the importance of staying active at school and Olympic gold-medal gymnast Gabby Douglas about staying fit. Check out her interviews on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog!

Kid Reporters have been following the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative for more than a year now. Check out their stories in the Let's Move! Special Report!

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