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Michelle Obama tackles childhood obesity

First lady Michelle Obama's official portrait was taken

First lady Michelle Obama's official portrait was taken in the Green Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Feb. 20, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images/The White House)

Tackling childhood obesity is top priority for first lady Michelle Obama. In 2010, she launched the "Let's Move!" campaign, dedicated to changing the way children think about food and nutrition, improving access to healthy, affordable food in school and at home, and encouraging kids to be active.

Healthy living is also something she practices with her own family at the White House. Recently, the first lady was a guest on "The B. Smith and 'Thank You Dan' Show," hosted by a husband-and-wife team that discusses food and entertaining on the daily SiriusXM Urban View show on channel 128. Here's an excerpt from the show during which Obama talks about the "Let's Move!" campaign as well as some of the changes she has had to make as a busy, working mother.

Last month marked the third anniversary of your "Let's Move!" initiative. Congratulations on that. That's so important.


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"Thank you. We are excited every day, but we try to take time on the anniversary to really take a step back, look at where we have come because we still have work to do. We’re still dealing with one in three kids in this country that are overweight or obese. We’re seeing issues with getting our kids physically fit. You know, kids aren’t getting the daily exercise they need. They should be getting at least 60 minutes a day but there are fewer than 10 percent of our schools, public schools, where kids are getting daily PE or recess. We’re starting to see some shifts in the trend lines and the data where there's some improvement because we’ve been spending a lot of time educating and re-educating families and kids on how to eat, what to eat, how much exercise to get and how to do it in a way that that doesn’t completely disrupt someone’s life."

"We’re going to spend two days on the road celebrating "Let’s Move" and we’re going to be in Chicago highlighting a new initiative around physical activity in the public schools. We’re going to spend a little time in Mississippi, which just three years ago was considered one of the most unhealthy states in the Union but they have since seen a 13 percent decline in childhood obesity rates in that state."

"So, we’re going to be traveling highlighting some of these successes and really encouraging people to do the work, celebrating companies like Wal-Mart that are finding ways to make the healthier choices, the more affordable choices. They are locating more and more stores in underserved communities so that people in poorer areas have access to fresh fruit and produce. So, we’re excited about that."

Getting the family involved with making meals and learning how to make healthier choices is also important. Do you with Sasha and Malia ever have a chance to get in the kitchen and make a meal?

"Not as much as we used to when we lived in Chicago. But before we came to the White House, that was one of the shifts I had to make as a busy mother, you know. Really cleaning our shelves, getting rid of the heavily processed foods, getting more fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh-squeezed juices in, getting them more involved in going to farmers markets and understanding where these fruits and vegetables are coming from. And that was one of the reasons I was motivated to plant the White House kitchen garden. I saw the difference it makes for kids when they are involved in the planting, harvesting, purchasing and preparation of the foods they eat. It really fundamentally changes their approach to what they eat and what they’ll be willing to eat."

“Let’s Move!” is targeted to kids, but ultimately it’s a family and it’s a community issue because our kids don’t do the grocery shopping. No matter how much they help in the kitchen, they can’t start the meal and prepare it from start to scratch. So they’re looking to us to give them good guidance."

Click here to listen to the complete radio show with first lady Michelle Obama.

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