Friday November 27th, 2015 12:15PM

First lady: Anti-obesity effort is changing habits

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Michelle Obama said Friday that her anti-childhood obesity campaign is creating a "cultural shift" in how Americans live and eat, and is beginning to have a positive influence on children's health.

As an example, she cited something she said she couldn't imagine when the "Let's Move" program was launched nearly four years ago: television commercials pitching fast-food breakfast sandwiches made with healthier egg whites instead of whole eggs.

But the first lady said more work is needed to solve the childhood obesity problem.

"Make no mistake about it, we are changing the conversation in this country," Mrs. Obama said at a back-to-school event at a District of Columbia elementary school. "We are creating a cultural shift in how we live and eat and our efforts are beginning to have a real impact on our children's lives."

"But I also want to be very clear. While we're finally beginning to make some progress, we still have a very long way to go before we solve this problem," she said.

In remarks to teachers, parents and others, Mrs. Obama cited documented declines in childhood obesity rates in New York City, Philadelphia, California and Mississippi. She highlighted changes to kids' menus by national restaurant chains and new labels at Wal-Mart stores that promote foods with less sugar, salt and fat.

Cities are building grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods and refurbishing playgrounds and bike paths for kids, Mrs. Obama said, and schools are planting vegetable gardens, installing salad bars and replacing food fryers with steamers.

But she urged audience members not to be complacent.

"Right now, we're truly at a pivotal moment, a tipping point when the message is just starting to break through," the first lady said. "And if we keep pushing forward we have the potential to transform the health of an entire generation of young people."

The event highlighted a part of "Let's Move" that encourages physical activity throughout the school day.

Mrs. Obama was joined by retired NBA center Shaquille O'Neal and two Olympians, sprinter Allyson Felix and gymnast Dominique Dawes. All four later changed into sweat clothes to run dozens of the elementary school pupils through a series of aerobic exercise drills.

Uli Becker, president of the North American division of Reebok International, announced that BOKS, an initiative of Reebok and the Reebok Foundation that provides physical activity and nutrition before school, will provide 500 schools with grants of $1,000 each to adopt the program.

The consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest criticized O'Neal's participation as inappropriate. O'Neal has a new line of cream sodas that the group says has 270 calories and 17 teaspoons of sugar in each 23-ounce can. The CSPI says sugary drinks are a leading cause of obesity.

O'Neal said it's up to schools and parents to keep children active and in shape, as he said his mother did with him.

"As parents, everything that we do for our children should be done in moderation," O'Neal said in an interview with The Associated Press after the event. "I don't drink my soda every day."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feds announce test sites for drone aircraft
The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.
2:23PM ( 1 year ago )
Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end
In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty - once again - for millions of individuals and businesses.
2:21PM ( 1 year ago )
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
White House undergoes Thanksgiving Day lockdown after man draped in American flag jumps fence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man draped in an American flag climbed over the fence at the White House on Thursday, prompting a lockdown as the first family celebrated Thanksgiving.The man was immediately appre...
10:11PM ( 14 hours ago )
Obama grants reprieve to turkeys 'Honest' and 'Abe' during White House ceremony
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama spared two turkeys named for one of the nation's most admired presidents, continuing a White House tradition that provides a refreshing sense of amusement and...
9:18PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 6 days ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 1 week ago )
Rash of E. coli cases in Pacific Northwest highlights problem of foodborne illnesses
SEATTLE (AP) — As Chipotle prepares to reopen its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest this week after an E. coli outbreak that sickened about 45 people, health experts say foodborne illnesses are mor...
1:40AM ( 2 weeks ago )