Michelle Obama appeared on “The View” Tuesday to discuss a number of important issues regarding our nation’s health. From gardening to nutrition in schools to how she hopes the Let’s Move campaign will paint a better tomorrow for our nation, the first lady opened up about how she created a healthy environment for her own family and how she hopes to empower other families to do the same.
Here are our top five takeaways from her time on “The View.”
You can garden anywhere. If you don’t know by now that the first lady loves gardening, you’ve been living under a rock. In her book “American Grown,” Mrs. Obama shares about her experience in planting a full-scale garden in the White House lawn, and how it’s helped she and her family not only eat healthier, but more fully appreciate whole foods.
By maintaining her own garden, Mrs. Obama became an advocate for gardening everywhere – in schools, at home, in communities – and hopes to educate Americans about the importance of planting and growing their own food, knowing where their meals comes from, and how doing so can play a key role in improving our nation’s health.
The first lady hopes to educate and empower people toward health, not point the finger. When asked what she thinks about people who believe the Let’s Move campaign is just another way to tell people what to eat, how much to exercise and how to live their lives, Mrs. Obama says it really comes down to people making healthy changes for themselves.
“We’re not going to solve this problem with government telling people what to do. But what people do need, parents in particular, is information,” she said. “They need a community that’s helping them make the decisions that are right for them, and that means they need good labels on products…they need schools to offer nutritious healthy meals so it doesn’t undermine what they’re trying to do at home.”
The Let’s Move campaign is about showing families being healthy is fun. While some perceive the first lady’s healthy initiative to be about stripping unhealthy things from our lives, she would content that it’s more about adding healthy things to it, and making a healthy lifestyle both fun and sustainable.
“It’s about providing parents with the support they need so that we live in a country the nurtures that kind of health,” she said, adding that moms, in particular are our children’s “first and best role models,” and that they will inevitably follow our lead. “But in the end,” she said, “it’s about letting families know that this is supposed to be fun.”
To get kids healthy, let them lead the conversation. Mrs. Obama opened up about how she created a healthy environment in her own home, pointing out that even a few minor changes like encouraging her kids to drink more water and eat more vegetables, have made a huge difference.
One of the things that got her daughters eating healthier was taking them to farmers markets where they could be more engaged in the process of growing food and begin taking more ownership in their diets. “It’s about getting kids engaged in the conversation about health.” This, says Mrs. Obama, is one of the main initiatives of the Let’s Move campaign.
The first lady hopes to fight obesity with her platform. When asked what she can do to fight obesity, which has become a national and international problem, Mrs. Obama points to her platform as first lady.
“The biggest thing I have is a platform,” she said, pointing out that because of her status the public eye is constantly fixated on what she’s wearing and what she’s doing. Because of this, she figures that if she stands in front of important issues – like getting healthy food in schools and encouraging kids to exercise more – then the light that shines on her will inevitably shine on those issues as well.
As for what specifically she thinks it will take to reverse obesity in our nation, the first lady expressed that people first and foremost need knowledge, information and resources. And then, she says, everybody needs to ‘step up to the plate’ and fight for better health.
In short, the first lady believes “we all have a role to play,” in getting our nation healthier, and that’s a message we fully agree with. Because it can’t just be our government or our schools or our parents trying to make these healthy changes; everyone has to be on board if we want to gain any ground.
Photos: ABC News and Getty Images
August 16th, 2012