First lady begins fight against childhood obesity

February 9, 2010 10:03:18 AM PST
First lady Michelle Obama says she loves burgers and fries, but she wants her daughters -- and the rest of America's children -- to learn about better nutrition and exercise. On Tuesday, she is launching Let's Move, a nationwide campaign to fight childhood obesity.

In an interview in Tuesday's USA Today, Mrs. Obama said the campaign will encourage more physical activity for children, healthier food in schools and more accurate food labeling. Some of her initiatives, such as tax breaks for grocery stores to move into poorly served communities, will require congressional action.

"I would move heaven and earth to give my kids all the chance in the world for them to be at the top of their game in every way, shape and form," Mrs. Obama told the newspaper. "Let's Move operates under the principle that every family wants the same thing for their kid. So we're going to figure out how to make it easier for them to get it."

In an interview with ABC News, Mrs. Obama acknowledged: "I love burgers and fries. And I love ice cream and cake. And so do most kids."

But, she added: "We're not talking about a lifestyle that excludes all that. The question is how do we help people balance that out so that they're not facing life-threatening, preventable illnesses, but they're enjoying their food, they're eating their vegetables, they're doing their running and walking and playing and still have time to get a good, fun meal in every once in a while."

"There's no expert on this planet that says the government telling people what to do really does any good on this issue," Mrs. Obama said. "This is going to require an effort on everyone's part. We have to have a tailored approach on this."

She said she tries every day to instill these values in her daughters, Sasha and Malia.

"My kids have to get up and move. They can't sit in front of the TV," she said. "I have them involved in sports ... to compete and to win and to run and to sweat. They have to understand."