First Lady Targets Obesity

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Michelle Obama

First lady Michelle Obama has found her issue of choice during her husband’s presidency: Just say no – to dessert.

Obama told a gathering of mayors in Washington last month that she will launch an initiative this month to fight youth obesity.

“I’ll be launching a major initiative on childhood obesity that mobilizes the combined resources of the federal government to work with partners across the country, including mayors like all of you, and others in the foundation, business and nonprofit sectors,” she told the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“Ultimately, it’s going to take all of us – businesses and nonprofits, community centers and health centers, teachers and faith leaders, coaches and parents, and particularly all of you, our nation’s mayors – all working together to help families make common-sense changes so our kids can get, and stay, healthy,” Obama said.

Details were expected to be released at an upcoming news conference.

Last March, Obama emphasized the importance of healthy eating habits when she broke ground on a new White House garden, featuring 55 different vegetables.

Her new effort is timed to be close to the anticipated reauthorization of the federal school lunch program on Capitol Hill this year.

First ladies have historically latched onto one overarching issue during their time in office, and they often choose youth issues. Among former first ladies, Laura Bush promoted literacy and Nancy Reagan was famously devoted to combating drug use.