Columbian Union Conference
Story by Kim Peckham and Visitor Staff
On Sunday Seventh-day Adventists from all around the North American Division (NAD) joined 50 other faith and community organizations in responding to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! national health and fitness campaign. In the Columbia Union, Vibrant Life, the church’s health magazine, organized a fun run and walk on the grounds of the Review and Herald Publishing Association in Hagerstown, Md., to which Obama sent two representatives: Joanne Grossi, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Judy Palfrey, MD, executive director of the first lady’s Let’s Move initiative. Both walked the three-mile course.
General Conference President Ted N.C. Wilson, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), two representatives from the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships as well as scores of locals attended the race.
The Vibrant Life Fun Run was one of the featured events for Let’s Move Day, and Katia Reinert, director of NAD Health Ministries, organized the national event to dovetail into Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative.
Let’s Move addresses the problem of childhood obesity, which has tripled in the last three decades. “We’re seeing hypertension in children for the first time in history,” Grossi shared with the Vibrant Life crowd.
Palfrey, a pediatrician, read a letter from Michelle Obama. “We need your ideas, your hands and your [hearts] to lead to a brighter, healthier, tomorrow,” the first lady wrote.
Addressing the crowd, 85-year-old Rep. Bartlett gave credit to his Adventist lifestyle for his extended career in congress. “I couldn’t imagine when I was a kid growing up during the depression that you would need to run to get exercise,” he told the crowd. “We had enough exercise to keep food on the table, didn’t we?”
With multiple Adventist entities organizing health-boosting activities around the nation on Sunday, the church received news coverage from newspapers and TV news stations.