June 23, 2010 -
The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release
June 23, 2010
Remarks by The First Lady at a President's Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition Event
Columbia Heights Educational CampusWashington, D.C.
2:38 P.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Hi, everybody. Yay, we’re here, we’re doing it! (Applause.) It’s so exciting. I am thrilled. I have been waiting for this day for a long, long time, and it is finally here. And I want to thank you all for being here and for hosting us.
As you know, my other partner, the President, was supposed to be here with us, but he had some other stuff going on. He sends his regrets. He would -
I want to start by first thanking Amy for just being a fabulously amazing middle-
Thank you, Amy. Great job. (Applause.)
And I have to thank our co-
But we are so grateful to Dominique and to Drew, and also to the executive director of the Council, Shellie Pfohl. Shellie, I know you’re out here. Everybody should know Shellie. She’s there in the fuchsia. (Applause.)
To all the Council members who have taken the time not just to participate on this Council but to come here today, it’s going to mean so much to kids across the country to see world-
I also want to recognize our mayor here in Washington, D.C., Mayor Fenty, who just got here. There he is. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. (Applause.) This is an appropriate event for him to be at, because he’s a jock. (Laughter.) Yeah, yeah. So he’s somebody who lives the message. And we’re grateful for your support and your role modeling of the issue. Thank you, sir. And we also have Congressman John Sarbanes here as well. Congressman, there you are. (Applause.) Thank you so much for your support on this issue.
It is great to be here at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus. (Applause.) This is a beautiful facility, very impressive. You drive into a parking lot, and it doesn’t look like a school. I’m impressed, it looks very, very good. And I got a chance to meet your outstanding principal -
And of course, I want to thank all the students from the Lincoln Multicultural Middle School -
I sort of tried to get in my gear -
Today we’re here to talk about an issue that is so close to my heart as First Lady, but also as a mom. And it’s an issue that’s of importance to all of us -
And every year, as a result of these conditions, we’re spending billions of dollars on treating obesity-
That’s why, earlier this year, we started this wonderful nationwide initiative that we’ve called “Let’s Move.” (Applause.) Yay for “Let’s Move”. And it’s an initiative that has been designed and worked on by so many partners all across the country. People have been fabulous about this issue. But our goal is to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation. We are making this a big, huge generational goal -
But one key to getting this done and solving this problem is passing a strong child nutrition bill. And I can’t emphasize this more -
This is an issue that everyone is getting behind because it’s not about politics, it’s about our kids. A majority of senators and House members from both parties have publicly called for swift passage of a strong proposal. So, once again, I urge Congress to provide the resources that we’re going to need to support these important programs that will be able to help change our children’s futures and those after that. This is an important time. So we’re looking forward to the Congress getting this done.
But you all know back when we were kids -
And you usually wouldn’t even come home until dinner, and you wouldn’t even want to come home for dinner, because you were having so much fun running around. You had to be forced to sit down and eat a meal. And the meals that we got were generally pretty healthy, because they were usually cooked at home with a whole lot of loving care and fresh products and produce.
Today we’ve got so many distractions -
And we have some communities that don’t have access to that fresh produce and those fresh vegetables. We are dealing with millions of people living in food deserts. And many parents are just overworked -
So things have changed. It’s gotten a lot tougher, and I think that’s why we’re seeing the outcomes in our kids that we’re seeing. There’s a reason why we’re here today.
But “Let’s Move” is about trying to help change all that. That’s really the goal. It’s not to place blame. It’s not to point fingers. It’s really to help parents in communities and business leaders find a way out of this dilemma.
But efforts to help kids stay healthy and active actually go back much further than what we’re trying to do here today. Way back in 1956 -
The Council’s original mission was simple: to encourage young people to get enough exercise. And that is still a very important component of what we need to do today. But today we know that being healthy is about more than just being physically fit. It’s also about eating healthy foods and really learning which foods to enjoy in moderation. That’s one of the reasons I talk about burgers and fries, because a life without burgers and fries is really depressing. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: And fried chicken.
MS. OBAMA: And fried chicken. (Laughter.) And just fried. (Laughter.) But it’s about learning about all the different ways to eat healthy and to strike those balances and to be active -
And it’s about developing healthy habits that kids will have for the rest of their lives. Because the one thing we know, why we start with kids, is kids learn. They’re not like us. They’re not stuck in time. You know, they learn something, they take it on, and it lasts forever. So we’re talking about developing lifetime skills that kids will then teach to their kids.
That’s why yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order expanding the mission of this historic Council and creating the new President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition -
This Council, as I said, is made up of everyone -
And those are just a few of the 25 men and women who will be donating their time and expertise to this cause. It’s just more people coming on and making “Let’s Move” a broader and stronger campaign.
Together, they’re committed to working with government and the private sector -
And we’re broadening the mission of the Council so that we can make a bigger difference -
I know that you’ve made the President’s physical fitness test an important part of PE class, just kids living up to that test. You collect information on the student’s weight and their heart rate and the progress that they’re making throughout the year. And I also hear that at the end of the year, the students with the most improvement get to take part in a fitness challenge with teachers and staff, which is huge. (Applause.)
Because as we’ve been talking with schools, what we’re finding consistently is that when the teachers and the staff are involved, when they’re sitting around at the lunch table and they’re practicing the same habits that they’re trying to instill in kids, it just makes kids want to do it even more.
So I commend you all on what you’re doing here. That’s what the President’s Council is all about. It’s about all of us pushing ourselves to meet new challenges, even when they’re difficult, because none of this is easy. It only gets easy if you start young. That’s what -
It’s about having fun -
So, again, I want to thank you all here at Columbia Heights for setting such a wonderful model, such a great example. I want you all to keep doing what you’re doing and help spread your message to other schools not just here in the District, but around the nation. You guys are a true model.
Again, I want to thank our Council members for their excitement and enthusiasm. And I think now is the time that we actually are going to get moving. So we’re going to do some activities with the kids. And as I said, I’m going to try and hang with you all, but this bow might get in the way. (Laughter.)
But I want to thank you all for being here. So let’s get moving. So thank you all so much. (Applause.)
END2:55 P.M. EDT