Last Updated:November 27 @ 11:19 am

Michelle Obama wants you to eat your peas and move

By Cain Burdeau

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - First lady Michelle Obama led toddlers at a New Orleans daycare center in calisthenics and read them a book about a mouse that eats green peas, bidding to get America's children eating better and exercising more.

Obama stretched, jumped and marched in place before reading to the children who gathered in a classroom with their parents and teachers at the Royal Castle Child Development Center. The center focuses on preschoolers from families with moderate and low incomes.

In June, the first lady announced a new national initiative called "Let's Move," designed to get child care centers to promote healthy eating and exercise habits. She promoted that initiative here after speaking at a fundraiser earlier in the day for the Democratic National Committee in New Orleans.

At the daycare center, the first lady read Denise Fleming's book titled "Lunch," about a mouse that eats vegetables and fruit. During the reading, she asked the children to raise their hands if they liked to eat corn. Many of the children raised their hands, prompting the first lady to declare: "I love corn."

On another page, the mouse eats green peas. "Do you know who likes these?" the first lady said. "President Obama."

With gusto, she also read from "Where the Wild Things Are," the children's classic by Maurice Sendak. Her voice rose and fell with the drama of the book, which she said was one of her family's favorites.

The first lady's "Let's Move" child care checklist stresses five principles:

—Provide one to two hours of physical activity daily.

—No TV or media screen time for children under age 2. Limit screen time for older children to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and ensure children have no more than one to two hours of quality screen time per day overall.

—Serve fruits and vegetables at every meal, eaten family-style when possible and no fried foods.

—Provide access to water throughout the day, and do not serve sugary drinks.

—Support mothers who want to breast-feed by providing mother's milk to infants and welcoming mothers who want to breast-feed their children during the child-care day.

At the earlier fundraiser, Obama spoke to a crowd of prominent Democratic supporters, including New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond. She urged the crowd to back her husband's re-election and highlighted what she said were his accomplishments — from passing health care reform to success in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"This is going to require every single one of us to work so hard to fight so forcefully to help people understand the stakes and the choices," she said.

She was introduced by Wendell Pierce, the New Orleans actor who stars on HBO's Treme drama series and co-hosted the event attended by about 100 people. Tickets to it sold for $5,000.

"This journey is going to be long, and it most definitely will be hard," she said of the presidential campaign.

Volunteers and supporters, she said, must engage other voters and be aggressive.

Invoking buzz words of the 2008 campaign, she said: "The reality is that's how change always happens in this country. Real change is slow. Real change doesn't happen overnight. But if we keep showing up, if we keep fighting the good fight . we always get there."

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  1. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    November 2, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    We don’t have a First Lady… we have a National Nanny and Scold!

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  2. downdraftComment by downdraft
    November 2, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    We visited our daughter in the  DC area during Hollloween..Trick or Treaters came by her door in absolute droves, I mean she went through better than $200 in treat swhich she gave out in prudent amounts…the whjole neighborhood was also over-run by parents and children from other neighborhoods of mostly Latinos and black children. It was obvious all these little kids were in “hog Heaven” and enjoying the free candies…and what was very noticeable was that they were WAY over weught for their ages, as were the parents who accompanied them (from all neighborhoods), and they”pushed” the children to “get as much as they will let you have, then ask to get miore for your baby brother at home”….

    While I am not a fan of any First Lady getting in my face and my family affairs, Idid was reminded that as a parent I am responsible for what my children eat, and for seeing to it they learn, learn good eating habits….these children were all candidates for becoming diabetics, some probably were…so Michelle was with good intentions…and certainly in a position to encourage…Its her husban who has visions of being a dictator, but I believe Michelle seems sincerely concerned…

    Still…it is our job, not her’s, and I would not tolerate her intrusion on my responsibilities…I don’t need the Government’s help…but only to stop spendin…

    And I still say:


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