ABC News’ Yunji de Nies Reports:
The First Lady took her Let’s Move! campaign to the web today, in a live online chat hosted by the White House and AOL. Mrs. Obama answered six questions, some submitted beforehand, others entered live, from people across the country. The 30-minute discussion focused on the familiar: encouraging exercise, helping busy parents make healthy choices, making healthier foods available to underserved communities.
Drawing on her own experience as a mom, Mrs. Obama said small adjustments at home can lead to big changes. After the family’s pediatrician suggested she improve her daughters’ diet , she said the Obamas rid their cabinets of processed foods, limited TV time, and worked to cook at least one meal at home every week. Still, Mrs. Obama said the family does indulge in the occasional slice of birthday cake, French fries and ice cream.
“It's funny that the president has a reputation for loving fast food, but I probably love it more than he does. He's very disciplined. He doesn't eat sweets, he loves vegetables. That's why we don't shy away from fast food. We want our kids to learn balance," she said.
As the mother of girls, Mrs. Obama said she is very aware of the dangers of making children, especially adolescent girls, overly self-conscious about their bodies.
“I don’t talk about exercise for the sake of losing weight,” she said, “I tell them [Sasha and Malia] that girls should learn how to compete, and run and sweat and do the same things that boys do.”
The First Lady said parents and educators alike should use children’s curiosity to teach them healthy choices and encourage better food choices.
“I have a daughter who’s in middle school, for example, and she’s at the age that she’s really curious about cooking. We can educate middle schoolers and high schoolers by really getting them focused on how they can actually fix healthy meals because they’re curious about cooking,” she said, “They’re looking for independence. So, I know my kids’ ears pop up when they’re going to be engaged in making the healthy snack. They’ll be more inclined to eat it.”
She said kids are quick to adapt, noting that her daughters have adjusted to drinking water over sugary drinks much faster than she expected.
“Kids are malleable and they are also open to learn. We’re the ones that stand in the way,” Mrs. Obama said.
FLOTUS Fashion watch: Mrs. Obama wore a coral sleeveless dress, with a large multi colored gem broach, and large hoop earrings.
-Yunji de Nies