Thousands of kids gathered Monday outside the White House on a beautiful sunny day for the annual Easter Egg Roll — but I was inside to talk with the first lady.
I was one of seven kid reporters, ages 6 to 13, who posed questions to Michelle Obama about her “Let’s Move!” campaign, dedicated to reducing childhood obesity and encouraging healthier eating habits. We met with the first lady in the White House library, where she immediately encouraged all of us to sit down on the rug (she wanted us to get comfortable) before opening the floor to questions.
"Let’s Move!" has had multiple endorsements from Hollywood and athletic stars over the years, but I wanted to know which celebrity Mrs. Obama still wanted to join her initiative.
“I want to see more and more athletes, professional athletes," she told me. "I won’t name specific names. There are so many athletes out there now who understand the importance that a healthy diet means to their ability to perform.”
Mrs. Obama said athletes can serve as great messengers to children who look up to them.
“I don’t know many kids who don’t have an athlete that they’re just in awe of. I think that it’s important for athletes to share their routines,” she said. “Kids think they can wake up and be [NBA player] LeBron James but he’s practicing and he’s eating right, and he’s working out.”
Mrs. Obama informed us that exercise isn’t just hard work—it’s playing, walking up the stairs or running around with your dog.
“It’s what kids used to do, which is go outside and play all day, not just sitting in front of the TV,” she said.
She also said that while eating healthy is important, a little treat every now and then won’t hurt you as long as you keep everything in balance. In fact, she even admitted to indulging herself.
“Splurging is the key to life,” she said. “How would you appreciate vegetables if you never had chocolate? You couldn’t.”
In fact, the head of the Let’s Move! initiative admitted to indulging in her favorite splurge food the day before. “I had a lot of French Fries yesterday. Boy, it got ugly,” she said.
After our meeting with the first lady, we were given tickets to the Easter Egg Roll. This year the event's theme was “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape,” a reference to the first lady’s initiative.
About 30,000 people were expected to walk through the South Lawn gates by the end of the 136th annual event. This year’s festivities featured appearances by actor Jim Carrey, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and singer Ariana Grande.
President Obama also appeared at the event, reading to one lucky group of listeners.
Mrs. Obama said her two daughters, Malia and Sasha, weren’t at this year’s Easter Egg Roll, but have attended plenty in the past.
She said her children “do what normal kids do,” which is mainly go to school and “have lots of homework.” Sasha takes dance classes three days a week, including all day on Saturday, while Malia has track practice every day.
Mrs. Obama also told us that Malia is a teenager “so she’s very annoying” because she always wants to do something else.
The first lady said her older daughter is constantly asking, “Can I go over to my friend’s house? Can I stay a little later? Can I go out to dinner?’’
She said neither of her kids like to be in the spotlight because they just want to be “normal kids.”
“They’re embarrassed to be around us. They don’t think anything we do is cool. They feel the way you feel about your parents—they feel about us,” she said. “They don’t want to do what we do. They go in the opposite direction of what we do. They’re pretty normal.”