Michelle Obama's New Mission

Michelle Obama's Let's Move Campaign -- getting kids to exercise and eat healthier -- has become the cause closest to her heart. In an exclusive interview, LHJ editor-in-chief Sally Lee chatted with the First Lady about her fight against childhood obesity, what she's teaching her own daughters, how she keeps fit (and gets those biceps!), and the one vegetable she refuses to eat.
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SALLY LEE: What made you choose Let's Move as your first major initiative?

MICHELLE OBAMA: It's personal for me. As a working mom [in Chicago] I lived through what a lot of working families are dealing with: You have your job. Your kids are going in 50 million different directions. You're trying to fix dinner, doing things on the go. You're [eating out], because you don't have time to cook. I saw the toll it was taking not just on how my family looked but on how we felt. But by making a few minor changes, I saw some pretty significant [results]. It made me think, do most families understand that these small changes can make a difference? I wanted to create a message that gave parents better information.

SL: Such as?

MO: How do we make eating a focus of children's lives? How do we make vegetables and fruits fun? I wanted to open up a dialogue about healthy eating that wasn't accusatory, that didn't place blame, because that doesn't make parents feel better. Parents are doing the best they can. . . . Also, physical activity is key. It's not just what kids are eating, it's how they're moving.

SL: My kids come home from school and they have so much homework, and piano lessons, and everything else. How can parents help kids find extra time for exercise?

MO: We have to think about it not as another activity but as play. I tell my girls it's as simple as running up and down the hallway with the dog. Think of creating [opportunities] for kids to play. They can play inside just as easily as they can play outside. In some communities playing outside isn't safe. It's difficult to look at a mother and say, ?You should let your kid ride a bike,? when there's gunfire going on. A lot of it is turning off the TV, creating more boundaries around computer time.

Continued on page 2:  Talking to the Girls


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