Michelle Obama wants the whole family to move to the beat of…”Veggie Luv.”
The first lady teamed up with some big names in music–including Jordin Sparks, Ashanti, DMC, and E-Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren–to create a music album that inspires and educates children to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Obama doesn’t contribute to the singing, but the compilation is part of her Let’s Move campaign, which she launched in 2010 to help combat childhood obesity. The nationwide initiative is also committed to helping ensure all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.
Hip Hop Public Health and the Partnership for a Healthier America, two organizations also dedicated to solving the country’s childhood obesity crisis, are also involved with the album’s creation.
“The simple act of getting up and dancing is really a great way to be active,” Drew Nannis, chief marketing officer of Partnership for a Healthier America, told msnbc. “We are bringing together music and physical activity in a way we felt more people could identify with.”
Adolescents between the ages of 8 and 18 spend about 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, including television, computers, video games, cell phones, and movies, according to Let’s Move statistics.
The 19-track compilation, which targets adolescents as young as kindergarteners and as old as seniors in high school, features pop, hip hop, and country songs, including “U R What You Eat,” “Veggie Luv,” “We Like Vegetables,” and “Get Up, Sit Up.” The first track and video, titled “Everybody,” was released in June and is available for download. The full album is set for free download on Sept. 30. The organizations hope to launch 10 music videos by next summer.
“Music is so universal, it’s so powerful, that as an educator I’m always amazed of why it’s not being used more ubiquitously within public health,” Dr. Olajide Williams, founder of Hip Hop Public Health and associate professor of clinical neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, told msnbc.
Music, he added, has greater representation in the brain than language. It not only enhances memory, but also creates an emotional connection with the themes being delivered.