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.
Cute's good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it's, 'Who are you as a person?' Don't look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. When you're dating a man, you should always feel good. ... You shouldn't be in a relationship with somebody who doesn't make you completely happy and make you feel whole.
We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams, because in the end, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. ... These are the basic values that we all share, regardless of race, party, religion. This is what we share. These are the values that this bill embodies.
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You have to practice success. Success doesn't just show up. If you aren't practicing success today, you won't wake up in 20 years and be successful, because you won't have developed the habits of success, which are small things like finishing what you start, putting a lot of effort into everything you do, being on time, treating people well.
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In the 10 cities with the nation's highest obesity rates, the direct costs connected with obesity and obesity-related diseases are roughly $50 million per 100,000 residents. And if these 10 cities just cut their obesity rates down to the national average, all added up they combine to save nearly $500 million in healthcare costs each year.
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You know, you have to start with hope...you don't get anywhere in this country without hope. So it's a necessity. What Barack says is that people have to understand hope isn't just blind optimism. It isn't passive. It isn't just sitting there waiting for things to get better. Hope is the vision that you have to have. It's the inspiration that moves people into action...There are more people engaged in this political process in this year than we've seen in my lifetime. And it is all because of hope because people believe in the possibility of something unseen.
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The work-life balance is a harsh reality for so many women, who are forced every day to make impossible choices. Do they take their kids to the doctor...and risk getting fired? Do they work weekends so they can afford to send their kids to better childcare...even though it means even less time with their families? Do they take another shift at work, so they can pay for piano lessons for their kids...even though it means they have to stop volunteering for the PTA? It just shouldn't be this difficult to raise healthy families.
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With this new initiative, Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the United States. And what I hope every company will do going forward when it comes to the ads they show and the food they sell they're asking themselves one simple question: Is this good for our kids?
We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.
Clearly this is a tough economic time, and a lot of families are hurting. So when we talk to parents, we talk about small changes for kids and things that don't cost extra money. Like adding water and eliminating sugary drinks and sodas. That's going to save money right there. Or adding a few more vegetables.
And I love that even in the toughest moments, when we're all sweating it - when we're worried that the bill won't pass, and it seems like all is lost - Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise. Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward... with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace.
In fact, in the last job I had before coming to the White House - I remember this clearly - I was on maternity leave with Sasha, still trying to figure out what to do with my life, and I got a call for an interview for this position, a senior position at the hospitals. And I thought, okay, here we go. So I had to scramble to look for babysitting, and couldn't find one.
I didn't just start with ...local city officials because I knew that they would understand the problem. I started with them because I knew that our cities, towns and counties would be a key part of the solution to this issue. ...there is no one-size-fits all policy or program that can solve this problem. And Washington certainly does not have all the answers. Instead, many of the best, most innovative, most effective solutions start in our city halls and our towns and our county councils.
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The arts and humanities define who we are as a people. That is their power -- to remind us of what we each have to offer, and what we all have in common. To help us understand our history and imagine our future. To give us hope in the moments of struggle and to bring us together when nothing else will.