A New Role for the First Lady


Did you watch the recent State of the Union address? During his talk, the President made a point of introducing the First Lady and announcing her as a leader in a new national campaign to combat childhood obesity. Perfect fit for Michelle, with her great arms and all!

While George W. Bush was one of the most fit President’s ever (did you know his vital signs were similar to that of an Olympic athlete?) the First Couple stays consistent with their workouts (or so we’re told). Kudos to them. You have to think they have pretty busy schedules — so the old, “I don’t have the time to exercise” excuse is disproven once again.

A recent article in the San Diego Union alluded to the fact that Michelle is taking her newfound commitment to countering childhood obesity seriously, and for her, it’s personal. She said their family pediatrician warned her to monitor Sacha and Malia’s activity levels and what they’re eating. In reaction to this Michelle commented, “In my eyes, I thought my children were perfect. I didn’t see the changes.”

She said her physician kept a close eye on African-American children and “warned that he was concerned something could be off-balance.” Obama admitted that parents often recognize that kids in general don’t eat right and aren’t exercising enough, but “we always think that only happens to someone else’s kids, and I was in that position.”

Let’s hope in the weeks and months ahead, we see a genuine effort to support the dissemination of evidence-based physical education and physical activity programs, proper nutrition/healthy eating, behavior and environmental change strategies, and certainly if you want to bring your arms around the entire issue and galvanize the stakeholders — Coordinated School Health can do that.

Won’t you consider writing a letter to the White House and the First Lady, congratulating and thanking her for taking up this worthy cause? And if you do, please encourage her to support programs that have been proven to work and last. In these days of tight budgets, it’s especially important that every penny is invested wisely.

Every journey begins with a first step. Thanks to the President and First Lady, we’re on our way!

-Paul Rosengard

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