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Entries in Michelle Obama (23)

Friday
May242013

Taking the Kids: First Lady Talks Summer Vacations 

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ready to let the kids lead the way on vacation?

First lady Michelle Obama suggests that's one way to get everyone more active on vacation this summer. The first lady told Taking the Kids in an exclusive interview, "The key to getting kids moving is to find something they enjoy, and join in." For the first family, that includes biking.

Every traveling parent, including the first parents, of course knows that if the kids are happy on vacation, everyone will be happy. But these days, with worries about childhood obesity and fitness, none of us want our kids to spend vacation sitting around eating fries, playing video games or texting, even if that's what makes them happy.

Neither do we. American travelers recently ranked getting healthier as their top goal this year, according to research from the new Portrait of American Travelers from MMGY Global/Harrison Group.

At the same time, kids surveyed by the U.S. Travel Association said that what they like most on vacation is doing things with their families that they can't do at home, things they'll talk about all year. Why not make some of those activities ones that get you all moving, suggests the first lady.

"I'd encourage families to pick activities -- no matter where you're visiting -- that involve getting active, whether it's walking, biking or anything else you find fun," she said.

Michelle Obama has made combating childhood obesity and encouraging families, including her own, to eat healthier and get more active one of her signature White House initiatives by way of her Let's Move! campaign.

The fact that her daughters, Sasha and Malia, weren't eating enough vegetables was the impetus for the famous White House garden -- the largest ever planted at the president's residence. The garden has even encouraged families around the country to plant their own. Last summer, the first lady told Taking the Kids that one way to encourage kids to eat healthier on vacation is to visit farmers' markets.

"Get them involved in buying the food your family eats, at a farmers' market you can let them pick out any three vegetables they want, and then plan dinner around those," she said. (For more tips from the first lady on eating healthier on vacation visit, click here.)

This year, as Memorial Day approaches, signaling the start of the summer family travel season, I was glad that the first lady took the time out of her busy schedule to respond again to questions from Taking the Kids about how we can all vacation healthier. I'm sure you'll find that she has some pretty useful tips.

Q. How can families be more active on vacation this summer, whether they're touring a city like Washington, D.C., or heading to the beach?

A: One of my favorite activities in the summer is biking. Barack and I love to bike with the girls when we can, and it's a great way to explore a new place. And many cities now have affordable ways of renting bikes for a few hours or a few days. Going on a long walk is also a great way to explore a new city or new neighborhoods. You can also choose a vacation spot that will get you active without even thinking about it, like visiting one of our nation's many beautiful national parks.

Q. How can you encourage kids to move on vacation, if they'd rather play video games or text?

A. We are our kids' first and best role models, so if we're getting active and enjoying it, they will too. Also, set limits on screen time during vacation. If they aren't moving, they should be reading.

Q. We know the Junior Ranger program that engages and enables kids to get a kids-eye-view of the national parks has incorporated some Let's Move! activities in the national parks. Why should families include a national park in their vacation plans?

A. Our national parks are so beautiful and offer an amazing diversity of experiences. And Junior Rangers makes it extra fun for kids to visit national parks, which are already such great places for families to get active and spend time together. From hiking to biking to swimming and canoeing, our country's national parks offer a wide variety of family-friendly activities.

And if you're a military family, you can also get free passes to more than 2,000 national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands.

(Note: The Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger program encourages kids and their families to engage in outdoor activity that will get hearts pumping and bodies moving during visits to national parks. Kids who complete at least one physical activity in pursuit of their Junior Ranger badge receive a sticker that designates them as a Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger.)

Q. Do you have a favorite national park your family has visited?

A. We are blessed to live in a country that has so many unique national parks, and each one has so much to offer. We have gorgeous, awe-inspiring parks such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, which I actually went to for the very first time as first lady. It was amazing. But the thing I love to remind people is you don't have to go far to find a national park. There are national parks all around the country -- some may be even in your own backyard -- that are there for families to enjoy year-round.

Q. We all think vacation is a time to kick back, relax and indulge, especially when it comes to food. How can we do that and still eat healthier on vacation?

A. It's OK to indulge. I do it myself. The key is balance. I've always told my girls that if you're eating healthy 90 percent of the time, then you don't have to worry about watching what you eat on special occasions. I would also say that vacations are a great time to try something that you haven't before and expand your kids' food horizons. Maybe a local dish with ingredients from the town you're staying in, such as locally grown fruits or vegetables, or the "catch of the day." As for me, I'll have some homemade ice cream for dessert -- after that bike ride.

For more ideas on where to get active on vacation, check out the Taking the Kids Very Best Family Summer Vacation Ideas and Eileen's new kid's guides to Washington, D.C., Orlando and NYC from Globe Pequot Press. You can also follow "taking the kids" on Facebook and Twitter where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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

Friday
Aug242012

Michelle Obama to Promote Kids Heath Program on "Dr. Oz"

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- First lady Michelle Obama will appear on The Dr. Oz Show Sept. 14 to discuss new federal guidelines to school lunch programs.

The new nutritional guidelines include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

The first lady will also reveal improvements to the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.

Host Mehmet Oz, M.D. issued a statement saying, "Mrs. Obama works tirelessly to focus our nation on prevention and educate youth about the critical need to eat right and stay active.  This message of prevention will imprint good habits on a generation of young people and result in longer lives and less disease.  I am humbled and honored that the first lady will appear on our show to ignite this conversation with my audience.”

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
Jun052012

Michelle Obama Announces Food Initiative with Disney Theme Parks

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The Walt Disney Co. will drop advertisers from its children's programming that do not comply with tighter nutrition guidelines instituted by the media and entertainment giant, the company said Tuesday.

First lady Michelle Obama appeared with Disney CEO Bob Iger to endorse the move, which was coupled with health-conscious revisions to menus at Disney's theme parks and resorts.

Obama called the decision a "game changer" for private industry.

"It's huge," she said at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., adding, "Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn't see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favorite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn't have believed you."

The first lady said Disney had "turned that conventional wisdom on its head," noting it was the first major media corporation to adopt such a policy. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

The new guidelines are an expansion of initiatives started by the company in 2006, using voluntary recommendations from the federal government. Iger said the continuing epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States spurred his company to shore up its practices.

"We believe everyone has a role to play in helping the generation of at-risk kids make healthier choices and we're determined to be part of the solution," he said. "If everyone does their small part, together we can create huge change without having the government step in to directly regulate or legislate our efforts."

Roughly one-third of Americans are considered overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  About 17 percent of children are obese, a figure that has almost tripled since 1980. Michelle Obama said children see an estimated $1.6 billion in food and beverage advertising, many for products with high calories. She said she'd seen its effects firsthand with her own daughters.

"The minute you walk down the [grocery] aisle, the kids are singing some jingle, or they're pulling on your leg begging you, pleading you for whatever they saw on TV," she said. "And, as a mom, I know how that makes it even harder for us to keep our kids healthy."

In an interview after his remarks, Iger conceded that his company could take a revenue hit as a result of Tuesday's announcement.

"When I think about Disney's bottom line, and we think about managing the company, we're thinking about the long term and not any one quarter or any one year," he said.

Iger would later add, "The more we behave as better citizens of the world, the more they will admire our company and like our products. This is good for the Disney brand and good for our bottom line on a long-term basis, even if it pinches us a bit in the short term."

Advertisers in Disney's television, radio and online properties will have until 2015 to comply with the new guidelines.

Disney says it will also revoke its license from private food distributors that do not comply with the new guidelines. For example: breakfast cereals featuring Disney characters on the box. Meanwhile, fast-food options at theme parks and resorts will be replaced with alternatives such as apples or vegetables.

Even the big boss himself -- Mickey Mouse -- took part. Donning a huge white chef's hat, the man-sized rodent advertised a Swiss breakfast cereal of oats and yogurt. But when asked whether treats such as Mickey Mouse ice cream would remain available for purchase, Mr. Mouse gave a silent but emphatic thumbs up.

Iger was quick to note that ice cream, fries and what he called "celebratory foods" would remain on the menu, but would be a distinct minority and no longer the default choice.

Margo Wootan, the director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the move will force food distributors to comply for both ethical and profit reasons.

"Companies will want to be associated with Disney characters," she said. "They are going to want to place their ads on Disney channels, and so they are going to need to reformulate their products."

Praising the decision, Wootan said entertainment companies need to "take some responsibility" as well because they are ultimately airing the ads.

Michelle Obama has made promotion of nutrition and exercise a major theme of her tenure as first lady, particularly concerning children. The administration says her "Let's Move" campaign has led 1,500 U.S. schools to adopt healthier menus and fitness programs. Several large food distributors have also partnered with the initiative to cut back on calories in their products or expand their stores into neighborhoods without ready access to healthy foods.

Nor is this her first partnership with Disney. In February, the first lady visited ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World in Florida to host athletic and dance games for children at the theme park, alongside professional athletes and Disney stars.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun042012

First Lady to Announce Food Initiative With Disney Theme Parks

Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama will appear with Disney CEO Bob Iger in Washington Tuesday to announce an expansion of the media company’s food guidelines.

Disney representatives say the corporation will be making health-conscious revisions to menus at its theme parks and resorts, though the details and scope of their implementation are yet to be revealed.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Michelle Obama has made promotion of nutrition and exercise a major theme of her tenure as first lady, particularly concerning children. The administration says her “Let’s Move!” campaign has led 1,500 American schools to adopt healthier menus and fitness programs. Several large food distributors have also partnered with the initiative to cut back on calories in their products or expand their stores into neighborhoods without ready access to healthy foods.

In February, the first lady visited ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World to host athletic and dance games for children at the theme park, alongside professional athletes and Disney stars.

Some critics of the president have targeted Michelle Obama’s initiatives for what they view as unneeded government intrusion into their private lives. Last week on Good Morning America, the first lady said it was about a larger issue.

“That’s not really what “Let’s Move!” has ever been about,” she said, “This isn’t about government telling people what to do. What we know we need to do is give parents, communities, families the tools and the information that they need to make choices that are right for them and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.”

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