Saturday, September 24, 2011

Michelle Obama Announces Let's Move! Milestone At Nickelodeon's 2011 Worldwide Day of Play

First Lady joins superstar athletes, teen TV stars at DC event for 50,000 kids and families; unveils new version of PALA Challenge...
First Lady Michelle Obama
joined more than 50,000 kids and their families on Saturday as they romped through sports activities on the neon-flag-bedazzled Ellipse for Nickelodeon's annual Worldwide Day of Play, held for the first time this year right outside the gates of the White House. Joined by Olympians and superstar hoopsters including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, as well as Nick teen TV stars, including Victoria Justice of Victorious and the boys from the band Big Time Rush, Mrs. Obama, clad in sports gear, was on hand to throw the symbolic switch that sent Nickelodeon channels dark for three hours, to encourage kids to get outside and get active. (Above: The First Lady with James, slime-covered participants, and Justice, far right)

The event celebrated the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award challenge (PALA), and the First Lady announced that she'd hit a major milestone for her Let's Move! campaign with that effort. She also unveiled a big change for the PALA program. After, she cheered on kids who were madly dashing through an obstacle course; the Ellipse was filled with activity centers, sports courts, and booths. It was Nickelodeon's biggest version of the event in its eight-year history.

Let's Move! milestone...
In the Fall of 2010, Mrs. Obama unveiled the Million PALA Challenge, a Let's Move! campaign to get 1 million citizens to complete the PALA Challenge in a year; it requires a six-week commitment to work out five times a week. Today, Mrs. Obama revealed that more than 1.7 million Americans heeded her call and earned their PALA awards, far above expectations. (Above: Mrs. Obama congratulates kids on the obstacle course)

“I’m so proud of all the kids and families who rose to the challenge and got active this year,” Mrs. Obama said. “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.”

The new, improved PALA challenge...
The First Lady today announced the launch of PALA+, a new version of the PALA challenge that includes a nutrition element to go along with the physical activity requirements. PALA + incorporates elements of the MyPlate campaign, which Ms. Obama unveiled in June. According to the White House, 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."

Mrs. Obama earned her own PALA certificate last Fall with the help of her personal trainer, Cornell McClellan; read here about how she did it.

Nickelodeon is telecasting the proceedings on Saturday night, which includes performances from Big Time Rush and the Fresh Beat Band. The guys from Big Time Rush--James Maslow, Kendall Schmidt, Logan Henderson and Carlos Pena--also visited the First Lady at the White House on Saturday morning to tape a video message for the event. They played ping pong in the Diplomatic Reception Room. (Above: Mrs. Obama with the band)

The event got notice from federal lawmakers, too. On Friday, the Senate passed H.Res 410, officially designating Saturday as the Worldwide Day of Play. It was introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH). The U.S. House of Representatives also introduced a resolution sponsored by Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) and co-sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). Urging kids to play is apparently one of the few things that can get bipartisan support in Congress.

Day of Play is big on Twitter...
Though Nick's TV channels were dark for three hours, turning off tech didn't include Twitter. @NickelodeonTV, Team Lebron, Dwyane Wade, @TeamCarmelo07, @VictoriaJustice, @DaniellaMonet, @Fitnessgov and @LetsMove, the guys from Big Time Rush, among many others, were all happily tweeting from the event. (Above: Dwyane Wade, center, with Nick stars from l Ashley Argota, Kendall Schmidt, Dillion Lane and Ariana Grande)

"Happy Worldwide Day of Play rushers! Are we really headed to the White House soon?! Crazy!" was one of the tweets from @BigTimeRush.

"Hanging out in Washington D.C. w/ everyone for #WWDOP ! Guess who I just had the honor of meeting?!" Victoria Justice tweeted (sic) to her million-plus followers.

"No Elmo...But yes! Mrs. Michelle Obama. She's amazing," Justice wrote in a follow-up tweet to a fan query.

"Had the best time hanging with @carmeloanthony @DwyaneWade and my two amazing coaches @CP3 & @KingJames!!! #WorldwideDayofPlay :)" tweeted Daniella Monet, one of the stars of Victorious.

Kids presented with PALA certificates...
Kids representing community and faith-based organizations, sports leagues and health groups that helped promote the Million PALA Challenge received their achievement certificates on the event's main stage on the Ellipse, presented by members of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. (Above: From l, Wade, James and Paul take a break with participants)

According to the White House, 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)

From Nickelodeon, the full list of stars at the event:
Superstar athletes participating in the day were LeBron James (Miami Heat); Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); Olympic gold medalist and professional soccer star, Abby Wambach (magicJack); and NFL veteran, Damien Woody. Joining them were the Nickelodeon stars of iCarly (Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Kress, Noah Munck and Jerry Trainor); Victorious (Victoria Justice, Daniella Monet, Elizabeth Gillies, Ariana Grande, Avan Jogia, Leon Thomas III and Matt Bennett); Big Time Rush; Keke Palmer (True Jackson, VP); the Fresh Beat Band; Supah Ninjas (Ryan Potter, Gracie Dzienny and Carlos Knight), Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures (Taylor Gray, Dillon Lane and Ashley Argota); the forthcoming live-action series, How to Rock (Cymphonique Miller and Max Schneider); and SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. (Above: Big Time Rush with Dwyane Wade, his kids, and friends)

*Related: Mrs. Obama's video promo for the event is here. More information on PALA is at Let's Move! is at

*Getty photos, except for econd photo of First Lady; that's by Chuck Kennedy/White House

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