Published on July 3rd, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Columbia Ranks No. 1 in the Country in Fighting Childhood Obesity through Let’s Move!

The National League of Cities (NLC) has ranked Columbia No. 1 in the country in addressing childhood obesity after completing key health and wellness goals for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC). LMCTC is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s comprehensive Let’s Move! initiative, which is dedicated to solving the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation.

Five gold medals were awarded to Columbia for action taken to improve access to healthy affordable food and increase opportunities for physical activity. These medals were awarded because of Columbia’s achievements in promoting healthy eating habits and physical activity, and expanding access to nutritious meals.

“Achieving this goal is an outstanding accomplishment for our city,” Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine stated. “Due to the collective cooperation of the City of Columbia and our community partners, we have been able to receive a gold medal in all Let’s Move categories.” “This is an ideal example of the great strides that we can make toward better health and wellness when we work together. These efforts are having a positive impact on our youth and they will have an impact on our citizens for generations to come.”

LMCTC calls upon local elected officials to adopt sustainable and holistic policies that improve communities’ access to healthy affordable food and opportunities for physical activity through five goal areas. Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine serves as the co-chairperson for Let’s Move! Columbia along with DeAndrea Benjamin, Columbia’s First Lady.

“When we launched this program just over three years ago, we all recognized that it had the potential to be something truly remarkable,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “But I don’t think any of us could have predicted that today we’d be recognized as the top ‘Let’s Move!’ city in the nation.” “This achievement is proof that we are a truly world class city and that, when we dream big and work together, we can accomplish anything.”

All LMCTC sites have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal to which they commit to as part of the initiative. Medals are awarded to local elected officials based on achievements in each of the following five goal areas:

Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education settings
Goal II: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served
Goal III: Smart Servings for Students: Expanding access to meal programs before, during and after the school day, and/or over summer months.
Goal IV: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Goal V: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity

“We congratulate and commend Columbia for your efforts to improve the health of your community’s children and families,” said NLC President Chris Coleman, mayor of Saint Paul, Minn. “Through the leadership and dedication of local elected officials in cities, towns and counties across the country, we are beginning to see a measurable decrease in obesity rates and a cultural shift towards health.”

NLC is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, to assist local elected officials who join LMCTC as they implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded NLC a grant to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including those participating in LMCTC.

More than 440 cities, towns and counties are participating in LMCTC. Each month, NLC recognizes local elected officials who achieve key benchmarks for the five LMCTC goals. Since July 2012, NLC has awarded 1,754 bronze, silver, and gold medals to recognize local elected officials across the country for their LMCTC progress.
For more information about LMCTC and Columbia’s accomplishments, visit

The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.


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