First Lady Michelle Obama hosted schoolchildren to harvest vegetables from the White House Garden’s summer crop on May 28 in Washington, D.C. Afterward, Obama, 49, enjoyed a lunch of flat-bread pizzas she had prepared with the children using the vegetables they harvested together.
Children from two New Jersey communities that were affected by Hurricane Sandy and kids from four other states participated in the gardening activities.
The event helped spotlight Obama’s goal of encouraging healthy eating among children. The First Lady herself follows a healthy diet that features fresh vegetables and fruits from the White House Garden, which was planted at her request in 2009.
Michelle, a mom of two, said spotlighting and preventing childhood obesity in the United States is something she cares deeply about. “It is definitely a passion: Getting the kids in our country to eat healthy,” she said.
Obama, who works out every morning between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m., launched the “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign in February 2010. “Let’s Move” is a program devoted to stemming the epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S. As part of the initiative, the First Lady encourages kids to eat healthier foods and exercise daily.
“We want to make sure that people understand this is about overall health and physical fitness — something I stress in my household,” she said. While critics such as Sarah Palin have slammed Obama’s program as an example of government intrusion, Obama said this interpretation is a gross misunderstanding of the anti-obesity message she’s trying to spread.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a grim report predicting that over 42% of Americans will be clinically obese by 2030, and that one-third are obese now.
Michelle, a longtime workout fanatic, said she and President Barack Obama not only talk the talk, but walk the walk by trying to be fitness role models themselves.
“Barack and I work out every day,” said Michelle. “When he isn’t traveling, that’s the first thing we do, so we spend time together in the morning. I usually get to the gym before he does, but he is usually there either in the middle of my workout or right at the end.”
Michelle lifts weights, does cardio exercise, yoga and Pilates. “I try to keep my weight at a certain level,” she said. “And I’ve found that as I get older I don’t like to diet. I like food. I don’t like to have to worry and count every calorie.”
Obama doesn’t let anything keep her from her daily workouts, not even a hectic travel schedule. “I bring a jump rope and some of those rubber [exercise] bands,” she said. “They’re really inexpensive. And I can usually do some rope-jumping in the hotel room.”