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Entries in Let's Move (12)

Tuesday
Feb262013

First Lady Sees 'Movement' in Improving Childhood Obesity

Ida Mae Astute/ABC(NEW YORK) -- As she celebrates the third anniversary of her Let's Move! initiative, first lady Michelle Obama told ABC's Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts that the country is seeing real "movement" on the issue of childhood obesity.

"We've really changed the conversation in this country.  When we started, there were a lot of people in this country who would have never thought that childhood obesity was a health crisis.  But now we're starting to see some movement on this issue," the first lady told Roberts.  "Our kids are eating better at school.  They're moving more.  And we're starting…to see a change in the trends.  We're starting to see rates of obesity coming down like never before."

"What we're seeing is that there's hope, and when a nation comes together, and everyone is thinking about this issue and trying to figure out what role they can play, then we can see changes," she said.

Mrs. Obama is set to embark on a star-studded national tour this week to promote and celebrate her Let's Move! initiative.  Her first stop will be in Clinton, Miss., on Wednesday, as she appears at an event highlighting healthy school lunches with Rachael Ray.

"I'm going back to Mississippi because when I first went there, Mississippi was considered one of the most unhealthy states in the nation," Mrs. Obama said.

"If we could fry water in Mississippi, we would, we would do that," Roberts, who grew up in Pass Christian, Miss., said.  "Food is a culture."

"But the good news in Mississippi is that they've seen a decline in childhood obesity of 13 percent, so we're gonna go celebrate and highlight what has been going on there.  There's still work to do," the first lady said.

On Thursday, the first lady will travel to her hometown of Chicago, where she will be joined by Olympic gymnasts and tennis star Serena Williams to promote more physical activity in schools.  Later in the day, Mrs. Obama will discuss healthy food choices at a Walmart store in Springfield, Mo.

Mrs. Obama said she will announce a new initiative called the "My Plate Recipe Partnership," which will provide families with online access to healthy recipes that meet the My Plate guidelines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's replacement of the food pyramid.

"More and more chefs, more and more food companies are understanding that they have to find ways to help families do this in a way that's gonna taste good, that kids are gonna like it," she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep262012

Snacks: The USDA's Solution to Students' 'Healthy Lunch' Hunger Complaints

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- According to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the solution to the growing grumbling over re-vamped school lunch menus boils down to a good old fashioned snack.

School lunch trays are a bit lighter this year after Congress-approved calorie limits on school lunches went into effect in August. The new regulations, which were championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity, have inspired protests and even a video parody from students who claim the reduced lunches are making them go hungry.

"It's not surprising that some youngsters will in the middle of the day be hungry," Vilsack told ABC News, responding to the controversy. "I remember my two boys when they came back from school they were always hungry, we always had snacks prepared for them."

Vilsack said the Obama Administration is working with school districts to create snack programs and encouraging parents to pack extra food for their active students to munch on before football practice or band rehearsal.

"We understand that change is difficult," Vilsack said. "Some folks love it, some folks have had questions about it, but that's to be expected when you're dealing with 32 million children and you're dealing with over a hundred thousand school districts."

Under the new regulations, cafeterias are required to serve twice as many fruits and vegetables while limiting proteins and carbohydrates. For an average high school student, that means two baked fish nuggets, a cup of vegetables, half a cup of mashed potatoes, one whole grain roll and eight ounces of fat free milk is the fuel that served to get them through their last four hours of classes.

But for a grumbling crowd of students, those 750 to 850 calories aren't cutting it.

"We hear them complaining around 1:30 or 2:00 that they are already hungry," said Linda O'Connor, a high school English teacher at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs, Kan. "It's all the students, literally all the students... you can set your watch to it."

O'Connor teamed up with her hungry students and fellow teacher Brenda Kirkham to create a ballad to the growling stomachs that are now pestering her classroom. The YouTube song and dance video "We Are Hungry," set to the tune of Fun's "We Are Young," now has more than 108,000 hits.

"Give me some seconds, I, I need to get some food today," 16-year-old Wallace County High School football player Callahan Grund sings in the video. "My friends are at the corner store getting junk so they don't waste away."

Vilsack said it was "great" that students were speaking out, but said he had not watched the video.

"I think it's great that kids are creative and I think it's great that they're participating in the process by letting their feelings known and using that format to express themselves," he said.

Across the state at St. Mark's Charter School in Colwich, Kan., middle school students are protesting the new regulations, which limit their calories to between 600 and 700 per meal, by bringing their lunches from home.

St. Mark's Principal Craig Idacavage said more than half of his 330-student school are opting for sack lunches because "they feel they are not able to get full" on the school offerings.

"I think they have a valid point and you can only hope that people will listen to them," Idacavage said.

The new school lunch regulations, which first lady Michelle Obama championed and a Democrat-led Congress passed in 2010, set a maximum calorie limit for high school lunches at between 750 and 850 calories. Under the old rules, cafeterias served a minimum of 825 calories per lunch.

Elementary students' lunches pack between 550 and 650 calories as opposed to the 633 calories allotted under the old rules.

For Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that "scant diet" is a "rude awakening" for schoolchildren across the country. King and Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., introduced the "No Kids Hungry Act" this month to repeal the new lunch menu standards and prohibit the calorie limits.

"Kids are of varying sizes, activity levels and metabolism rates," King wrote in a Des Moines Register op-ed. "How can we expect each child to flourish and grow on subsistence diets? This all because some are overweight."

But it is not just a few overweight kids that are causing calorie cuts across the cafeteria. One out of every four adolescents are too overweight to join the military, according to a report released Tuesday by Mission: Readiness, a group of retired military leaders who claim obesity is now a national security issue.

"Removing the junk food from our schools should be part of comprehensive action that involves parents, schools and communities in helping children make healthy food choices," retired U.S. Coast Guard Admiral James Loy said in a statement. "The bottom line is that the armed services must have a sufficient pool of fit young adults to draw from in order to field enough recruits with the excellent qualifications needed to staff a 21st century military."

Despite students' complaints over growling stomachs, the new nutritional requirements should actually be making them feel fuller, said Kristi King, a registered pediatric dietician at Texas Children's Hospital and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The new rules double the amount of fruit and vegetables that are served and mandate that half of all bread products are whole grain. All three of those food types are chock full of fiber, which takes longer to digest, King said.

"It should be making kids fuller if they are actually consuming the whole product," King said. "If children are not picking the entire meal available to them they are obviously going to be hungry."

In Jackson, Miss., the state with the highest obesity rate, school cafeterias have been easing kids into the healthy food regulations.

Mary Hill, the executive director of food services at Jackson Public School District said her school district has been phasing in more fruit and vegetable options over the past few years to prepare for the regulations and while the new rules are an "adjustment" for the students, she said she has not heard any complaints.

"To me, if you hear that grumbling it's that typical grumbling with children," Hill said. "You know children will be children."

Meanwhile, other critics have griped that the Obamas'  own daughters don't have to suffer under the new regulations, as they attend private school.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug202012

First Lady Hosts Kids' State Dinner at the White House

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House today, celebrating the young winners of a national healthy recipe contest who proved food can be “healthy and tasty at the same time.”

“Is this not cool?” the first lady asked as she welcomed the 54 contest winners and their guardians to the White House. “This is just so very cool. And understand, it's not just cool for all of you. I mean, this house has been abuzz with this event. I think this is one of the best events that we've ever had here, our very first-ever Kids State Dinner -- so, so awesome.”

The children, ages 8 through 12, were all winners of the “healthy lunchtime challenge,” a nation-wide competition that asked kids and their parents to submit recipes for lunchtime meals that were “healthy, affordable, and tasty.” Today’s “State Dinner” luncheon featured a selection of the winning recipes, including “Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes” and “Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad.”

“You’re here because your recipes truly stood out, right? And that's really saying something. You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients, dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good too. See? It can happen, healthy and tasty at the same time,” the first lady said.

The president also made a surprise appearance to thank the kids for “spreading the word about healthy eating.”

“Usually, I get invited to the state dinners. So this time I just had to crash,” the president said as he entered the ornate East Room to squeals of excitement from the young guests. “I had to crash the party because I did not want to miss out on all the fun.”

“I could not be prouder of you… because, you know, it's hard enough to follow a recipe and make something good to eat,” the president said.

“I'm not a great cook. I'm an OK cook. I can make a good omelet and toast,” he joked. “Let's face it, I don't cook that often these days, but I remember cooking, and it's not always easy to make something that people like to eat. Then for you guys to actually come up with recipes that are healthy and tasty, and to do it in a way that helps to contribute to spreading the word about healthy eating among your peers, that's a really big deal.”

The White House chefs and a team of judges critiqued more than 1,200 entries to pick the winning recipes from each state and territory and recreated the winning recipes for today’s lunch, as seen in this behind-the-scenes White House video.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May222012

First Lady Launches Lunch Contest For Kids’ ‘State Dinner’

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON) -- Calling all kids who enjoy making healthy lunches with their families. The first lady is giving you a chance to show the country what you can do in the kitchen.

Michelle Obama and Epicurious, in conjunction with the departments of Education and Agriculture, are launching a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches. The winners will get an invitation to the White House for the first-ever kids’ “State Dinner.”

“We all want to ensure that our kids are eating nutritious, delicious food at every meal, and as a mom I know that parents are always looking for new ideas to make that happen,” the first lady said in a statement announcing the contest. “With parents and kids all across the country getting creative in the kitchen, I know we’ll find healthy meals that every family will enjoy.  And I can’t wait to try the kids’ creations myself.”

The “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” invites parents and their children, ages 8-12, to create an original lunchtime recipe that is “healthy, affordable, and tasty.” The recipe contest is open for entries now until June 17.

Participants are encouraged to reference the USDA’s “MyPlate” nutritional guidelines when developing their recipes. “Entries should represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruit, veggies, whole grains, protein and low-fat dairy foods,” the contest announcement stated.

Fifty-six adult-child teams — one winner from each of the 50 states, plus the U.S. Territories, D.C., and Puerto Rico — will be flown to the nation’s capital and have the chance to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House in August, where a selection of the winning recipes will be served.  Winners will be notified on July 16.

The winning recipes will be published online in an e-cookbook that features nutritional analysis, photos and drawings of the recipes.

The contest is part of the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative to fight childhood obesity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb092012

First Lady Launches ‘Let’s Move’ Anniversary Tour

The White House/Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON) -- Over the past two years, first lady Michelle Obama has showcased her hula-hooping skills, broken a world record for jumping jacks and taught us how to “Dougie” in an effort to encourage the nation’s children to live healthier lives through exercise.

On Thursday, the first lady is on the move again, embarking on a three-day tour to celebrate the anniversary of her signature “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity.

In stops in Iowa, Arkansas, Texas and Florida, Obama will continue to promote healthy eating and exercise while also touting the successes of her program.

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake,” the first lady said two years ago when she launched “Let’s Move.”

While an estimated 17 percent of American children and adolescents are obese, the White House said the first lady has made great progress toward her goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation.

She has encouraged more than 1,500 schools to meet high standards in nutrition and fitness, partnered with nationwide chains and small grocers to expand the availability of  healthful foods, and convinced restaurants and food manufacturers to cut calories and offer healthier options, according to the White House.

The work, however, goes on. 

On Thursday, the first lady kicks off her trip in Des Moines, where she will discuss Iowa’s goal to become the healthiest state in America by 2016.  Later in the afternoon, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Michelle Obama will announce efforts to improve the nutritional value of military food.  Finally, in Fort Worth, Texas, the first lady will host a roundtable discussion with parents who are changing their families eating habits at home.

Later this week, the first lady will join forces with chefs from Bravo’s Top Chef and the Dallas Cheerleaders to highlight school lunches in Dallas, participate in a WebMD town hall in Homestead, Fla., and discuss the work of community organizations in supporting healthy lifestyles in Longwood, Fla.

Obama’s whirlwind tour will conclude with a stop at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World, where she’ll get moving with local kids and their families.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Fitness Challenge: Michelle Obama Takes Down Jimmy Fallon

Official White House photo by Chuck Kennedy(NEW YORK) -- It was a battle of the titans on late-night television as first lady Michelle Obama and Late Night host Jimmy Fallon faced off in a gag White House exercise challenge.

First came the stair race, then pushups and hula-hooping. A tug of war in the Diplomatic Reception Room soon followed, along with a punishing round of dodge ball. In the big finale, the first lady beat Fallon in a potato-sack race across the East Room.

Obama’s appearance Tuesday on NBC’s Late Night was part of her ongoing promotional tour to mark the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” initiative to fight childhood obesity.

“The most important thing for the kids to learn is that it’s all about being active and having fun and it doesn’t matter if you won or if you lost,” a breathless Fallon said after his defeat.

“Oh, it matters,” Obama said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb022012

Michelle Obama Does 25 Push-Ups

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- First Lady Michelle Obama isn’t blowing hot air when she stumps on the importance of physical fitness, regardless of the menus of the restaurants she frequents. She proved Wednesday that she’s got the moves to back it up.

During a taping of the Ellen DeGeneres Show in Los Angeles for an episode that was to air Thursday afternoon, Obama accepted -- and won -- a challenge by DeGeneres to see who could do more push-ups on the spot.

Both women flung off their dress coats and hit the floor, pumping up and down, side-by-side to cheers from the crowd.

“How many was that for her?” asked DeGeneres after both women had finished. “Twenty five.”

“I just stopped,” said a smiling Mrs. Obama.

“And I thought it wouldn’t be good to show up the first lady,” retorted DeGeneres. “So, I stopped because I thought this looks bad that I’m going to beat her. And I’m 54 and you’re 48. Let’s make sure we know.”

The first lady appeared on the show to promote her “Let’s Move!” campaign which encourages physical activity to help fight obesity.

Obama told DeGeneres she works out for an hour and a half every day in the morning, including cardio activity, weight lifting and plyo-metric exercises.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan302012

Obama Family Super Bowl Snacks: Nachos, Guacamole

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The first family will likely spend Super Bowl Sunday at the White House, watching the big game over a plate of nachos and a side of guacamole, Michelle Obama said in an interview with celebrity chef Rachael Ray set to air Wednesday.

“We’ll probably watch it at home. It’ll probably be a quiet Super Bowl this year,” Obama told Ray of the family’s plans.

As for the favorite Obama snacks that would be part of a game-day spread, Obama said nachos are “always good,” particularly if “it’s fresh tomato sauce and you get it on sort of a good-quality tortilla.”

President Obama prefers avocados as his “favorite snack food,” she added. “A chip dipped in some guac.”

The first lady also discussed her family’s commitment to physical fitness, which is the focus of her “Let’s Move!” campaign to fight childhood obesity.

“We’re a huge sports family,” she said. “I work out as often as I can, usually every day and when we can, we exercise with the kids. I usually exercise after the girls go to school, but they play basketball, my older daughter plays tennis, we play with her. Barack helps to coach Sasha’s basketball team, so we do make sports a part of our lifestyle and that’s the other leg of ‘Let’s Move!’

“It’s nutrition, but it’s also movement,” she added.

As for those cheesy-typically high-caloric nachos, Obama agreed with Ray that they can be made in a healthy way.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct052011

Students Help Out at White House Harvest; ‘Let’s Get Picking!’

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On your mark, get set, “Let’s move! Let’s get picking!” Michelle Obama said, as elementary students rushed to help harvest the White House vegetable garden Wednesday.

Students from Bancroft and Tubman Elementary Schools helped the first lady collect vegetables at the third annual harvest of the garden she started to help connect children with the food they eat. The “kitchen garden” has also become an essential component of her “Let’s Move!” initiative.

“You guys ready for some work?” the first lady asked the kids.

Mrs. Obama got her hands dirty, picking peppers and pulling potatoes out of the ground while the students helped.”

"This one’s a whopper!” one little boy said as he helped the first lady.

Vegetable pizza and salad were on the menu as Obama encouraged children to “just give it a try.”

Asked why the students were at the White House Wednesday, one boy responded, “Because we have to cook pizza!”

“Well, pizza is a good reason to be here,” the first lady said.

Another student stepped in, saying, “We’re here to learn how to be healthy,” to which Obama replied, “Awesome!”  

In addition to Wednesday’s meal, the garden provides vegetables for White House functions throughout the year and for the first family’s meals.

“We are going to eat these vegetables -- the president, me, Malia, Sasha, Grandma,” the first lady said. White House dog “Bo doesn’t really eat them.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul202011

First Lady and Grocers to Bring Healthy Food to Millions Living in Food Deserts

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama announced Wednesday that she has recruited major national retail giants to join her campaign to provide fresh fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods to areas of the nation with little access to healthy food.

Walmart, Walgreens, SuperValu and other regional retailers have agreed to open or expand more than 1,500 stores over the next five years to bring fresh foods to the country’s food deserts.  

Executives from some of the companies involved in the partnership were on hand for remarks made by the first lady in the East Room of the White House.

"The commitments you all are making today have the potential to be a game changer for our kids and for our communities all across this country," said Mrs. Obama.

The first lady said that she knows conventional wisdom suggests that retailers might not want to make investments in low-income communities, but that in order to end childhood obesity something has to be done about access to healthy foods.

She said part of her "Let’s Move" campaign is to give parents a healthy choice for their kids.  "We can talk all we want about calorie counts and recipes and how to serve balanced meals, but if parents can't buy the food they need to prepare those meals -- if their only option for groceries is at the corner gas station or the local mini mart -- then all of that is just talk."   

The government defines a food desert as an area in which 33 percent or 500 people live more than a mile from a grocery store in an urban area or more than 10 miles in the suburbs.  The White House says the partnership with grocers will serve millions of people.   

The government estimates that about 23.5 million Americans -- including 6.5 million children -- live in areas without stores likely to sell affordable and nutritious foods.  The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity identified access to healthy, affordable foods as a key pillar to solving childhood obesity, the first lady said.

There was a light moment at Mrs. Obama's event.  She told those on hand, "This is a big deal. It is a really big deal.  I think our vice president put it better, but I’m not gonna...."

The audience laughed loudly realizing she was referring to when Vice President Biden was caught by a hot mic dropping the F-bomb when congratulating President Obama on the passing of health care reform.  "This is a big f----ing deal," the vice president said.

Mrs. Obama kept things G-rated.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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