WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama kicked off her "Let's Move" drive on Tuesday, an agenda of nutrition and exercise programs designed to eliminate "the epidemic of childhood obesity" in a generation.
"This isn't like a disease where we're still waiting for the cure to be discovered," Mrs. Obama said. "We know the cure for this. This isn't like putting a man on the moon or inventing the Internet. It doesn't take some stroke of genius of feat of technology. We have everything we need right now to help our kids lead healthy lives."
Mrs. Obama made her remarks at a White House event launching the first public policy initiative she is leading, one with roots in her wildly popular White House kitchen garden planted last year.
Tuesday was the culmination of an orchestrated roll out of her campaign, which included a media blitz by the first lady and cabinet members. The first lady had been working with Obama administration officials, mayors, food makers, food vendor groups, medical associations and non-profit groups in order to come up with a package of White House proposals.
Congress this year is supposed to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, and Mrs. Obama is asking that school lunches and breakfasts get more funding so students can be served more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
She has enlisted professional athletes to run sports clinics across the nation and is using her considerable bully pulpit to get food makers and vendors to voluntarily either make their food healthier or at least label it better so people can make informed choices.
In essence, as Mrs. Obama said, the key to reducing childhood obesity is to eat better and exercise more; how to do that has vexed officials and medical professionals for years.
On Tuesday morning, Mrs. Obama, flanked by four cabinet members attended an Oval Office ceremony with President Obama where he signed a memo creating an interagency task force on childhood obesity with orders to come up with a plan in 90 days.
Mrs. Obama is looking to eliminate junk food in schools and "food deserts" in urban areas where parents cannot get access to fresh produce and non-junk foods. Mrs. Obama is asking Congress for more money to bring grocery stores and farmers markets to underserved areas.
No food purist--Mrs. Obama enjoys her burgers and fries, she said she is not looking for "having government tell people what to do. Instead, I'm looking at what we all can do."