The Alexandria YMCA, part of the YMCA of Metropolitan
Washington hosted First Lady Michelle Obama, Department of Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin who
announced plans on Jan. 28, 2010 to help Americans lead healthier lives through better
nutrition, regular physical activity, and by encouraging communities to support
healthy choices. They talked directly with national and local leaders, parents
and health professionals about reducing overweight and obesity in adults and
children. (photo included below)

YMCA of the USA President and CEO Neil Nicoll
opened the event and introduced Dr. Benjamin, who released the Surgeon
General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation
. The report highlights
the alarming trend of overweight and obese Americans, and asks Americans to
join her in a grassroots effort to commit to changes that promote the health
and wellness of our families and communities.

The First Lady recently announced that she will
launch a major initiative on childhood obesity in the next few weeks and has
asked the YMCA to be engaged in those efforts. Today, she discussed her
firsthand experience with the challenges of raising healthy kids in today's
environment and mentioned the role of organizations such as the YMCA in helping
kids and families adopt healthy lifestyles.

YMCAs provide safe and affordable spaces and
programs to help both kids and adults learn, grow and thrive. In fact,
for nearly 160 years, YMCAs have offered programs that strengthen the physical,
emotional and spiritual health of millions of individuals from all backgrounds
and in all types of communities. Over the past several years, we have
increased our efforts to help stem the tide of rising obesity rates.

Being recognized by the First Lady, Secretary of
HHS and the Surgeon General is truly an honor and an indication of their trust
in us as a movement to help move the needle on the important issue of reducing
obesity and chronic disease. We cannot stress enough the significance of
today. It further elevated what YMCAs are doing across the nation to
support healthy living among all Americans.