Archive for Monday, July 12, 2010

First lady calls on NAACP to help fight childhood obesity

First lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during the 101st annual NAACP convention, Monday, July 12, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. During her remarks she talked about the Let’s Move! initiative and its goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation.

First lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during the 101st annual NAACP convention, Monday, July 12, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. During her remarks she talked about the Let’s Move! initiative and its goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation.

July 12, 2010


Convention goers give a round of applause after first lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks during the 101st annual NAACP convention, Monday, July 12, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. About 4,000 people attended the event.

Convention goers give a round of applause after first lady Michelle Obama delivered remarks during the 101st annual NAACP convention, Monday, July 12, 2010, in Kansas City, Mo. About 4,000 people attended the event.

Michelle Obama speaks in Kansas City

The First Lady spoke at the NAACP convention. Enlarge video

— First lady Michelle Obama encouraged the NAACP to help fight the growing child obesity rate, just like it fought slavery and discrimination.

“If we don’t do something to reverse this trend right now, our kids won’t be in any shape to continue the work begun by the founders of this great organization,” she said.

Her comment drew applause from the crowd of 4,000 people Monday during the NAACP’s 101st annual convention in the Kansas City Convention Center.

Obama spoke about her “Let’s Move” campaign, a national movement to raise healthier children. One in three American children is overweight or obese. This is the first generation in history that is on track to live shorter lives than their parents.

“This issue isn’t about how our kids look,” she said. “It’s about how our kids feel. It’s about their health and the health of our nation and the health of our economy. There is no doubt that this is a serious problem and it’s one that is affecting every community across this country.”

Michelle Obama on kid food choices

First lady Michelle Obama talks about the food choices children make during a presentation Monday at the NAACP convention in Kansas City, Mo.

Obama, 46, said Americans live very differently today than when she grew up. For example, she walked or biked to school. She didn’t ride in a bus or car.

“We went to neighborhood schools around the corner. So many of us had to walk to and from school every day — rain or shine — I know you’ve told that story before,” she said, which drew laughter.

She said they had recess and gym class, something that’s been a target of budget cuts.

“When we got home in the afternoon, there was no way we would be allowed to lie around watching TV,” she said. “Our parents made us get up and play outside. And we would spend hours playing outside.”

When it came to mealtime, her family sat down at a table and she and her brother ate what was on their plates or they went hungry.

“There was always a vegetable on the plate,” she said, adding that desserts, candy and soda were left for special occasions.

“Back then, without any expert advice or without spending too much money, we managed to lead pretty healthy lives,” she said.

Four goals

The “Let’s Move” campaign has four goals and she talked about each of them:

Empowering parents and caregivers. New federal legislation will require restaurant chains to post the amount of calories in foods. Officials are working for better food labels and with pediatricians to screen children for weight issues.

Providing healthy food in schools. Obama said 31 million American children are participating in school meal programs and consuming more than half of their calories at school. The campaign wants to cut the sugar, salt and fat and add fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Improving access to healthy, affordable foods. She said 23.5 million Americans and 6.5 million children live in “food deserts” or neighborhoods without a supermarket. Obama said it’s not convenient for these families to buy a head of lettuce or fruits; often they resort to foods in nearby gas stations. The campaign’s goal is to eliminate these deserts in seven years.

Increasing physical activity. The campaign’s goal is to increase the number of children walking and biking to school by 50 percent in five years.

Marah Williams, 16, of Atlanta, was among the attendees. She said her school’s vending machines are full of junk food, and the cafeteria serves items like cinnamon rolls. She also said her school doesn’t have a gym.

“I am serious. We don’t even have a gym,” she said.

Personal responsibility

Obama emphasized that the government can only do so much.

“This is about families taking responsibility,” she said. “It’s about small changes that add up, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking instead of riding. ... It can be something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your children in the middle of the living room.”

Obama said adults have to lead by example. If a parent is obese, there’s a 40 percent chance the child will be obese.

“We owe it to all of those who come before us to ensure that all of those who come after us — our children and their children — have the strength and the energy to ...,” her words were drowned by applause as people rose to their feet.

She asked loudly, “Will you move with me?”

The crowd clapped louder, and many were shouting, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”


David Holroyd 7 years, 11 months ago

The first lady looks to be in a "family way". It certainly wouldn't be obesity. I think that there is going to be a baby in the White House.

You think Michelle will go to Arthur Bryant's or Gates Bar BQ, the Prez got his bar bq at Oklahoma Joes on County Line road in KCK.

ralphralph 7 years, 11 months ago

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Patty Buchholz 7 years, 11 months ago

Nice to see she is taking on something that has already been in the works local and national for quite some time. I guess it makes it easier for her and she can take the credit when we see the changes.

meggers 7 years, 11 months ago

If addressing these issues has "been in the works" for quite some time, why is it that childhood obesity rates continue to climb? It amazes me that some people are so blindly partisan that they take an issue of great importance to the health of our nation and turn it into a petty partisan attack. Although I did not at all support her husband's policies, I was very much in favor of Laura Bush's attempts to promote literacy. And that certainly was not the first time that particular issue had been addressed, either.

Sometimes, politics need to take a back seat to common sense.

Dec84 7 years, 11 months ago

Meggers; you are correct and I feel the same way. "Sometimes. ploitics need to take a back seat to common sense" well in the post of happyp, common sense depends on what part of the country you come from.

@ happyp, your name is so misleading. You SAD piece of crap, how will she take credit for our youth being healthier?

Paul R Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

It's easy to just ignore this, and we will eventually pay a huge price if it doesn't turn around. The issues are technical, complex and often related to poverty and lifestlye. We are all in this together and must provoke dissussion and some national strategies. If we think the Baby Boomers will be expensive in the narcissim and refusal to grow old with dignity and to just die off in their own time, the next two-three generations will present their own hugely expensive burdens to the system. Keep up the conversation, First Lady. Good job trying to get people to pay attention.

Pete_Schweti 7 years, 11 months ago

Learn to use "You're" properly before you go running around throwing stones.

Michael Throop 7 years, 11 months ago

On the face, the First Lady's comments are encouraging. But, it's interesting she railed against so called "food deserts", areas of the inner cities where there are few or no grocery stores offering quality foods at a reasonable price. The road in that direction started in the inner city riots of the 60s, when local store owners were burned out of their establishments, mainly because they were white and Jewish. In the 90s riots in Los Angeles, Korean store owners were the targets. Why would anyone want to locate in such a hostile environment? Add to that, in something uniquely Chicago-that cesspool of "government" in our country, and your president's learning ground, Wal-Mart found itself stymied in its attempt to build grocery-included supercenters in the city. The enemy, Big Labor, especially the Prez's bosom buddies, the SEIU. Finally, Mayor Richie Daley got some cojones and got WalMart to agree to a specific salary schedule for associates (something WalMart does anyway), and (in some unspecified quid pro quo-which will manifest itself later) got the union thugs to agree to stop pushing for organization of the Walmart workers. People on the South Side of Chicago see what "friends' Big Labor is..they're white and suburban, and don't care a whit about anything except money and power, ESPECIALLY power. There is much, much more we don't know about this deal but, as a former Illinoisan, I can take it to the bank that nothing..... NOTHING happens there in a vacuum. Whatever the other shoe holds when it falls, there will be a deal for some, and a freeze-out for others but, at first blush, inner city residents long denied a decent place to shop will have an opportunity 40 years denied.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

Unless it has been breaded and fried, Gagh is low-fat.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

No. One scoop of ice cream is sensible compared to a banana split, milk shake or even 2 scoops of ice cream.

momof2ku 7 years, 11 months ago

She doesn't have a weight problem. So, a scoop of ice cream is something she can enjoy. If she were 300 pounds and eating ice cream it would be different. GEESH

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

theres one huge flaw in your argument. You are clearly looking for something here to rag on her about, and nothing else.

If you exercise and eat healthy most of the time, there is NO reason you should be denying yourself of sweets or whatnot. That actually creates more problems than anything else, and why people go on yo-yo diets and end up gaining more weight than they started out with.

The same goes for children, if they are active, they shouldn't be denied treats. It's when laziness combines with huge consumptions of crap food that it becomes a problem

Jennifer Alexander 7 years, 11 months ago

Can you say SHE IS AN ADULT AND CAN MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS!?! Its one thing to have an ice cream every now and then, and work out to maintain your own health. Its another thing when you are a child who doesn't make those kinds of decisions, and all that is available to you is crappy, packaged overly processed food.

Just because the woman gets an ice cream, even with 2 scoops, does not make her a hypocrite. I guess you forgot that she has an organic vegetable garden at the White House. I would say that is at least one tiny step in the right direction. Its more than any other First Lady has done.

runescapeman 7 years, 11 months ago

lets all clap for the obamas and their GREAT ideas that never work. Most kids i know that are fat dont care about their weight, and neither do their parents so there is nothing to be done. i say it is a waste of effort....

Michael Throop 7 years, 11 months ago

oh, yeah, as if Clinton did.. remember Billy's Big Mac attacks??

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

Yea, what business does the First Lady have giving a rats a** about public health? She should just encourage complacency, because that's easy.

We should make our kids be extra fat just to spite those dirty Obamas. That will show them.

Give them cigarettes too.

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

haha I thought you were being serious at first. Honestly I was trying to write something a few minutes ago to this degree, only serious, but I think you just hit the nail on the head.

pace 7 years, 11 months ago

Another do nothing. I am so tired of the wingnuts who's grand proposal is don't try to do anything positive, just blame it on someone else. take no responsibility. Michelle Obama deserves support and to be heard. She is doing something, something positive. We need more of that , not the do nothing, no use trying, nothing will work republican scams.

Jennifer Alexander 7 years, 11 months ago

Its at least worth a try. If you don't try, you don't know. Its lazy attitudes like yours that have gotten us into the situation that we are in. What ever happened to being proactive?

Paul R Getto 7 years, 11 months ago

runescapeman: I hope you are being ironic. If you are correct, health insurance companies need to do what life and auto insurance companies often do--peg your insurance rates to each client's weight based upon the BMI scale, or something similar. Much of this is, as you point out, lifestyle generated, Hopelessness is not a good sign and I trust you will rethink your bold assertions. If, however, people want to maintain a dangerous weight, they will pay for it and the rest of us should not have to.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if the First Klingon is still getting pay-offs from that Chicago hospital where she engineered a patient-dumping scheme?

rtwngr 7 years, 11 months ago

Fight discrimination? Like standing up for the Voter Rights Act and not prosecuting two "New Black Panther Party" members for standing in front of a voter polling place with clubs and making racist remarks? Apparently this administration is so ignorant it doesn't know the meaning of equal rights.

Truami 7 years, 11 months ago

Translation "We're sorry for feeding you poison. Please, stop eatting the poison. It might taste good but you're forgeting we are killing you. Enjoy your laws. Love, the presidency."

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

Ironically, since liberals are "infamous" for wanting to be hand fed everything, apparently...this is one case where she and others are taking a stand and helping people be aware of ways that they can better their lives and the lives of their families. She's telling people that we need to learn healthier ways of living.

Also, who is feeding who crap? Last time I realized, the crap (lets say...hmmm...McDonalds?) is a private business, and if the govt somehow outlawed this junk, you and others would be up in ARMS about it. exactly does that make sense?

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

Also, she is calling for healthier school lunches....she's trying to change something that the government/school districts are doing wrong. Did she put this food in the schools? No. Clearly not.

volunteer 7 years, 11 months ago

Local school districts can help by REQUIRING some recess and phys ed. Several years ago my sister's 5th graders in a Topeka school were denied recess because her colleagues thought all the 5th graders needed more drilling to pass state assessments....(she thought her colleagues insane...the teachers needed a fifteen minute break about as much as the kids needed to romp and chase kids. Not to mention the social skills one learns at recess.)

This was a case where a smart principal and activist parents would have been of great help. I bet momofthree, as well as other frequent commenters, would not have tolerated such a policy without resistance. Thank God Topeka now has a good superintendent who, one suspects, would not tolerate such a poor "home rule" decision if it were brought to his attention.

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

How anyone can turn this into a bad thing is beyond me. Denial that children are frighteningly unhealthy? Denial that people/parents/schools have the ability to change that for the better with perseverance, hard work, and awareness? Denial that their "side" didn't win, so they automatically are against anything the administration does? Etc etc...

Wow, ignorance here is clear.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 11 months ago

Michelle Obama is one fine speaker. Hats off to her organic garden exercise!!

Most all choices in the public school vending machines leave a lot to be desired. Too many chemicals and not enough light nourishment.

It is my thinking parents should be packing healthy lunches,snacks and water for their children to take to school. Use aluminum or stainless steel water bottles. Water in plastic bottles is so much more expensive.

Instead of shaking down taxpayers for $25 million dollar field houses how about throwing that money into a walkable community. People definitely use the hike an bike wide travel ways in this town. So I say build a few inside town on Connecticut,Kentucky,6th street, 13th street,19th street ( south side), Kasold and widen those Wakarusa sidewalks.

If we can get people into the walking mode again we should begin to see improvements.

Again Michelle Obama is one fine speaker. Hats off to her organic garden exercise!!

yankeevet 7 years, 11 months ago

I dont think Michelle is concerned with Lawrence, Kansas..........

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

no one ever said she did.

I think she's concerned with health and exercise of all people.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

So you are saying too many black kids are fat? What about fat whitees?

Imagine if Laura Bush or Nancy Reagan had suggested this; what racists they would have been labeled as....

John Kyle 7 years, 11 months ago

She spoke before the NAACP on the same topic she has been speaking about for ALL Americans. Don't be afraid to actually look this up or know something before you post.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 11 months ago

But really, why isn't the NAACP more concerned about issues and how they affect white people?

mr_right_wing 7 years, 11 months ago

Not an argument at all. Just an observation. There is no argument here......

calwt262 7 years, 11 months ago

Here's the thing, we wouldn't be fighting childhood obesity if it was about's not, it's about adverse impacts on an individual's health. Obesity is all about lifestyle choices. Some folks are better off than others due to genetics, however, it ultimately boils down to how you take care of yourself.

If everyone was responsible for their own health insurance, then the government should let everyone make all the lifestyle choices they want. However, if the government is going to mandate universal healthcare on the taxpayer's dime, then the government should limit the lifestyle choices that perpetuate adverse health consequences.

I'm all for personal choice, responsibility, accountability, and the government promoting healthy lifestyle choices.

Katara 7 years, 11 months ago

You forgot watermelon & grape drink in your stereotype.

Mixolydian 7 years, 11 months ago

No problems whatsoever with what she's doing here. Good on her.

But, have budget cuts really caused the elimination of recess in grade schools? Curious, just asking.

Katara 7 years, 11 months ago

My understanding is that it is not budget cuts that are the reason for eliminating recesses but rather to spend more time working on material for the standardized testing that increased under NCLB.

It is the standardized testing scores that affect the budget.

Mike Ford 7 years, 11 months ago

it's amazing how hateful and stupid a segment of this country has become because they lost an election and had no answers to the problems they and their president created and the only way they think they can win elections is through hate, misinformation, and fear and callousness. what a poor pitiful thoughtless group of people who support tea idiots to get into offcie and do nothing

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