More than 30,000 people gathered on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the event by inviting thousands of kids to roll, color, and hunt for eggs. The theme of the day was “Hop Into Healthy, Swing Into Shape.” It was part of the first lady’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce obesity rates among American kids. Mrs. Obama spoke to young reporters about her goal to get children to eat right and keep moving.
The First Lady sat with the young reporters from publications including TIME For Kids, Sports Illustrated Kids, and Newsday, in a circle on the floor of the White House’s North Library. “We are working to make sure that kids born today grow up healthy, learn how to have balanced meals, and get more physical activity into their lives,” she said.
Mrs. Obama said she wants children across the nation to understand that “exercise isn’t just hard work, it’s play. If you’re running around with your dog, you’re getting exercise. If you walk up the stairs, that’s exercise. But if you’re sitting in front of the TV or on a computer game, you’re not exercising.”
The First Lady said that for kids who eat right most of the time, having a special snack, like chocolate, will not hurt. “And if you are active, you can splurge a little more,” she said. Mrs. Obama revealed that her favorite “splurge food” is French fries. “I had a lot of French fries yesterday. That is the problem with French fries—you can't just eat one!" But she also said that she balances her splurging by exercising almost every day. She loves to play tennis and she practices yoga.
Mrs. Obama said she hopes that more professional athletes will take part in the Let’s Move! campaign. “A lot of kids look up to athletes, and I think it’s important for athletes to share their routines,” she said. “Kids aren’t just going to wake up and be LeBron James. He’s practicing and eating right and working out and training. Our athletes can be really good messengers to kids who look up to them—they can say to kids, ‘If you really want to be like me, then you really do need to eat your vegetables.’”
When asked what she plans to do after President Obama leaves office in 2016, the first lady said she wants to continue her work helping kids and military families . “I don’t have any interest in holding public office,” she said. “But I hope that we will see a woman in the White House sometime very soon.”