Being healthy isn't about inches, pounds, or how kids look. It's about how they feel and making sure they feel good about themselves. So rather than focusing on appearance, it's important to emphasize to kids that when we eat healthy food and stay active, we feel better, and we can perform better in everything we do, from athletics to academics.
We have to design policies that have meaningful impacts on the quality of life of women and families. And that's something that I know I can speak passionately about because whether I'm in the White House as First Lady, as long as I have kids and I'm trying to have a life, I'm gonna be trying to make this balance work.
Some kids have never seen what a real tomato looks like off the vine. They don't know where a cucumber comes from. And that really affects the way they view food. So a garden helps them really get their hands dirty, literally, and understand the whole process of where their food comes from. And I wanted them to see just how challenging and rewarding it is to grow your own food, so that they would better understand what our farmers are doing every single day across this country and have an appreciation for ... that American tradition of growing our own food and feeding ourselves.
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And in my own life, in my own small way, I've tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. That's why I left a job at a law firm for a career in public service, working to empower young people to volunteer in their communities. Because I believe that each of us - no matter what our age or background or walk of life - each of us has something to contribute to the life of this nation.
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This year, 1.7 million young people will be participating in Olympic and Paralympic sports in their communities-many of them for the very first time. And that is so important, because sometimes all it takes is that first lesson, or clinic, or class to get a child excited about a new sport. This summer, together with our children, we can support Team USA not just by cheering them on, but by striving to live up to the example they set.
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We all grew up in communities with grandmothers who cooked two, three vegetables that you had to eat. There was no ifs, ands or buts about it. But that's because many of our grandparents, they had community gardens; there was the vegetable man that came around. There were many other resources that allowed them to have access. So it's not that people don't know or don't want to do the right thing; they just have to have access to the foods that they know will make their families healthier.
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When I was little, I wanted to be a mother, because that's who I saw. I saw my mom caring for me. I didn't play doctor. I didn't play lawyer. I didn't have those visions until I was in college, meeting people who were doing those things. That's why we're trying to encourage moms, teachers, fathers, to be that presence in their children's lives, in their communities, because it really makes a difference.
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When you're really trying to make serious change, you don't want people to get caught up in emotion because change isn't emotion. Because change isn't emotion. Its real work and organization and strategy.. that's just the truth of it. I mean, you pull people in with inspiration, but then you have to roll up your sleeves and you've got to make sacrifices and you have got to have structure.
If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.
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African American children are significantly more likely to be obese than are white children. Nearly half of African American children will develop diabetes at some point in their lives. People, that's half of our children. ...We can build our kids the best schools on earth, but if they don't have the basic nutrition they need to concentrate, they're still going to have a challenge learning.
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Kids who participate in school meal programs get roughly half of their calories each day at school. ... This is an extraordinary responsibility. But it's also an opportunity. And it's why one of the single most important things we can do to fight childhood obesity is to make those meals at school as healthy and nutritious as possible.
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You see, even though back then Barack was a senator and a presidential candidate, to me, he was still the guy who'd picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door. He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he'd found in a dumpster, and whose only pair of decent shoes was half a size too small.
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When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks who told him to leave health reform for another day, another president. He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically - that's not how he was raised - he cared that it was the right thing to do.
Although the circumstances of our lives may seem very disengaged, with me standing here as the First Lady of the United States of America and you just getting through school, I want you to know we have very much in common. For nothing in my life ever would have predicted that I would be standing here as the first African-American First Lady.
Fortunately, we have help from the media. I have to say this: I'm very grateful for the support and kindness that we've gotten. People have respected their privacy and in that way, I think, you know, no matter what people may feel about my husband's policies or what have you, they care about children and that's been good to see.