Daily Archives: September 13, 2010

First Lady Michelle Obama Challenges Restaurants to Offer Healthy Options

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the National Restaurant Association’s Fall Board Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. September 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)


“So today I’m going to talk about food, which is something that all of you here today know a little bit about,” said First Lady Michelle Obama to an audience representing forty percent of the nearly one million restaurants in the United States, from the biggest chains to the smallest diners, at the National Restaurant Association Meeting in Washington, DC.

The First Lady discussed Let’s Move!, her nationwide campaign to solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation, so that kids born today can reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! is about attacking the problem from all different angles – from giving parents the information and the resources they need to making sure every community has access to fresh and nutritious food. Today, the First Lady called on America’s restaurant owners for their help, challenging them to offer healthy, accessible menu options:

That’s why I want to challenge every restaurant to offer healthy menu options and then provide them up front so that parents don’t have to hunt around and read the small print to find an appropriately sized portion that doesn’t contain levels — high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

These choices have to be easy to make and they have to give parents the confidence to know that they can go into any restaurant in this country and choose a genuinely healthy meal for their kids.

Now, again, I know it’s easier said than done. It’s not easy to come up with choices that are both healthy and palatable for kids. And it may mean putting in some real effort and creativity to make this happen.

Let’s Move! is committed to helping increase the demand and making it easier for restaurants to do what’s right:

And we’ve started by requiring chain restaurants to provide calorie counts on their menus and menu boards. And I am grateful for the support we’ve received from the NRA to get this done. And I want to encourage restaurants that aren’t providing calorie counts to join us in this effort.

And because so many of the calories our kids consume come from school, we’re also working to get more nutritious food into our lunchrooms and our vending machines. And, again, the NRA has been playing an important role in these efforts as well.

As part of “Let’s Move,” we’re setting a goal of doubling the number of schools that participate in the Healthier US Schools Challenge by next year. And we’re working with schools and food suppliers to offer more fruits and vegetables and to cut down on that fat, sugar and salt.

And, finally, we’re working with mayors and other local officials to make our cities and towns healthier and to highlight restaurants that agree to serve smaller portions and promote more nutritious options.

In closing, Mrs. Obama encouraged everyone in the room to join her in these efforts to help make sure that every family that walks into a restaurant can make an easy, healthy choice.

We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture — imagine this — where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them.

See, after all, that’s one of the core ideals this industry was founded on. I recently learned that the term “restaurant” actually comes from the French word for “restore.” And when the idea of the restaurant business spread across the ocean, some of the first true restaurants in this country emphasized their ability to make people healthier and to cure what ailed them.

So today, you are all the heirs to that legacy. And you face a similar opportunity both as business owners — but also as parents, not just to fulfill your obligations to shareholders, but to fulfill the obligation we all have to the next generation.

Read full remarks here.

Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our special section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama

President Obama to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: “You’ve Got a Partner in Me

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

President Barack Obama is videoed by an attendee with an iPhone as he delivers remarks at the Historically Blacks Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) reception in the White House on September 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. In his remarks Obama promised to the presidents of HCBUs to improve graduation rates and prepare as many students as possible for the challenges of the 21st century workplace. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

This morning, President Obama hosted a reception for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) at the White House in honor of National HBCU Week. HBCU’s have played a crucial role in the American higher education system.  As President Obama said in his remarks, HBCU’s have “made it possible for millions of people to achieve their dreams and gave so many young people a chance they never thought they’d have — a chance that nobody else would give them.”

In his remarks President Obama reflected on the history of HBCU’s as well as the critical role they will play in meeting his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020:

We cannot reach that goal without HBCUs.  We can’t get there — (applause) — we can’t get there unless all of you are improving your graduation rates.  We can’t get there unless all of you are continuing to make the dream of a college education a reality for more students.  We want to help you do that in every way that we can.  Already, we’ve eliminated billions of dollars of unnecessary subsidies to banks and financial institutions so that that money could go directly to your students.  And that is incredibly important.  (Applause.)  And as a consequence of that, we’re making it possible for millions of more students to attend colleges and universities and community colleges all across the country.

The President also reiterated the Administration’s commitment to HBCU’s.  In February, the President re-established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

We also want to keep strengthening HBCUs, which is why we’re investing $850 million in these institutions over the next 10 years.  (Applause.)  And as I said in February, strengthening your institutions isn’t just a task for our advisory board or for the Department of Education; it’s a job for the entire federal government.  And I expect all agencies to support this mission.

Now, none of this is going to be easy.  I know — I’m sure you know that.  As leaders of these institutions, you are up against enormous challenges, especially during an economic crisis like the one that we are going through.  But we all have to try. We have to try.  We have to remain determined.  We have to persevere.

That’s what the first founders of HBCUs did.  They knew that even if they succeeded, that inequality would persist for a very, very long time.  They knew that the barriers in our laws, the barriers in our hearts would not vanish overnight.  But they also recognized a larger and distinctly American truth, and that is that the right education might one day allow us to overcome barriers, to let every child fulfill their God-given potential.  They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that education means emancipation.  And they recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our special section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under African-Americans, Education, HBCU, Pres. Barack Obama, Students, Uncategorized