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Michelle Obama, Hula-Hoop Star

5 years ago
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First Lady Michelle Obama Hula-hooped, double Dutch jumped roped, ran barefoot through an obstacle course on the South Lawn of the White House, and even tried a tightrope -- all part of her latest drive to get kids to eat healthy and exercise.

But Mrs. Obama is no purist. She loves French fries.

"I have a good relationship with French fries and I would eat them every single day if I could. I really would," she said.

The photos from her Wednesday White House event are remarkable -- this athletic First Lady takes Hula-hooping seriously -- with AP counting Mrs. Obama's swiveling hips earning her 142 Hula-hoop rotations. Not shabby.

The gallivanting around was part of the "Healthy Kids Fair" hosted by Mrs. Obama. The Obama White House and the First Lady have been stepping up the administration's fight against childhood obesity, as more children in the U.S. are growing up overweight. During an Oct. 13 visit to Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington, Mrs. Obama worried about childhood obesity and urged folks to stand while watching television to keep off the pounds.

The lean and healthy First Couple have long been on a crusade to get kids to watch less TV and to exercise more. Policy-wise, the administration is launching efforts to make school lunches have less fat and fewer calories.

Their diet message, and their own lifestyle, allows them occasional pig outs -- but not all the time.

The East Wing put together the workout events -- there was a Hula-hoop and jump rope station -- and a cooking demonstration of healthy eats: baked sliced apples, baked eggs, zucchini quesadilla, sweet and zesty popcorn, and creamy salsa dip.

Mrs. Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, lives with the First Family. Mrs. Obama recounted that her mother was pretty strict with her and her older brother Craig when it came to food, some it inspired by their family budget.

"We had pizza about once every school year -- once every semester when we got good grades. That's when we got pizza. It was pizza day. That's what we got for getting good grades, pizza

"And we didn't have dessert every single night. My mother would tell us, 'Dessert is not a right. It's a treat.' So we had it on special occasions. We didn't have -- and I have to tell my kids this -- you don't get dessert every night of the week. Otherwise it's not a treat; it's just something that you do.

"And my mother was also very clear in our household that you ate what she fixed. Mmm, yes.You ate what she fixed, and if you didn't eat that, then you didn't eat. And in my household -- is if you say you're not hungry, then you have to eat your vegetables, and then you get up and leave, and you don't ask for anything else, and go to bed, right?

"So these are the kind of rules that I grew up with, that all of your moms and your dads grew up with, and these are the kind of rules and boundaries and guidelines that we want to set for all of you."

Mrs. Obama, in her own household, is not that strict, especially since she likes to indulge herself occasionally and eat food that tastes great but should not be eaten all the time.

"But in my household, there were no absolutes, right? I mean, we love good food, too. That's why I always say there's nothing that the First Family loves more than a good burger, right? And look, my favorite food in the whole wide world are French fries. I love them.



"I have a good relationship with French fries and I would eat them every single day if I could. I really would. But I know that if I'm eating the right things -- and I tell my girls this -- if you're getting the right foods for most of the time, then when it's time to have cake and French fries on those special occasions, then you balance it out."

Photos credit for slideshow above: Win McNamee, Getty images (full screen version here).

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