RODALE NEWS, PHILADELPHIA, PA—The squeals of delight sounded more like a Beatles concert than the arrival of First Lady Michelle Obama at The Fresh Grocer, a supermarket in an inner-city North Philadelphia neighborhood where 95 percent of the children are entitled to free school breakfasts and lunches. The cameras were flashing and small children were being hoisted on parents’ shoulders in order to shake her hand.
Friday morning was the beginning of a two-day effort by Mrs. Obama, who in fact is something of a rock star, to promote Let's Move, her campaign to eliminate childhood obesity by encouraging children to exercise more and eat healthier foods. Using a combination of folksiness and humor—often self-deprecating, sometimes at her husband’s expense—she tells hard truths about the toll childhood obesity is taking on almost one-third of children today, most of them poor, and how she thinks her Let’s Move initiative may reverse the trend.
Marian Burros reports on the First Lady's antiobesity campaign:
Your Family Can Lose Weight on the Michelle Obama Plan
Can Michelle Obama Shrink America's Waistlines?
White House Unveils Huge Solutions for America's Weighty Problem
Are You Part of the Food Revolution?
THE DETAILS: Mrs. Obama's plan for rolling out her Let's Move campaign seems to be to highlight its various parts in turn. Friday, she unveiled the government’s $400 million Healthy Food Financing Initiative in her husband's 2011 federal budget, an effort to bring supermarkets like The Fresh Grocer to “food deserts” in inner-city and rural areas—places where people, especially those without transportation, are forced to buy their groceries from corner stores, gas stations, bodegas, and other places not known for fresh produce or low prices. Mrs. Obama was accompanied by Treasury Secretary Tim Geitner and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack because some of the money and tax credits for these projects will come from their agencies, along with Health and Human Services.