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Take Your Child to Work Day

The First Lady welcomes children of Executive Office employees to the White House for the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” event.

Today the First Lady welcomed children of Executive Office employees to the White House for the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” event. In a question and answer session in the East Room, the First Lady fielded the children’s questions with Bo at her side.
Here are a few of highlights, or read the full remarks here.

Q    Do you like living in the White House?
MRS. OBAMA:  The question is:  Do I like living in the White House?  And yes, it’s fun living in the White House. 
     (Bo barks.)  (Laughter.)  Bo likes it, too.  Bo likes living in the White House, too.  Some of the most fun parts about living in the White House is getting to share the house with so many people.  I mean, we have thousands of people who come here every month just to visit, and it’s really fun to meet a lot of people and to make sure that they feel like this house is special for them, and to share it with everybody else.  So it’s been a lot of fun.  There are a lot of good things about it.
Q    What inspired you to become so involved in child obesity?
     MRS. OBAMA:  You know, it was just watching how children’s diets and habits change.  Then I saw it in my household, just how easy it was with schedules being as busy as they are, and parents working a lot of hours.  And we get into the habit of giving you guys what’s easy sometimes, Mac and Cheese every night, and driving through the drive-thru a little bit too much.  And time is just short.
     And I noticed it in my own household.  And I thought, well, if I’m having these kind of challenges, it must be hard for the average family who doesn’t have a lot of resources and things like that.
Q    How is the obesity cure going? 
MRS. OBAMA:  How’s that going, that cure thing?  (Laughter.)  Yeah, yeah, well, we haven’t quite solved it yet -- (laughter) -- but we’re on our way. 
     There are some people who think that -- some scientists who say that the link to obesity is genetic, like it’s something that you’re born with.  But what we’re trying to figure out is how do we change behavior, particularly in kids, to just teach them different habits, right?
     So my theory is that kids can learn to love vegetables just as much as they can learn to love the taste of candy.  I truly believe that.  You may not agree, but I think that if you guys are eating healthy things on a regular basis, you start to like them, and you start making choices about a snack so that instead of a snack being a piece of candy, a good snack could be a nice bunch of grapes.  Right?  How many people like grapes?
     So that’s one of those learned things.  So instead of saying, Mom, Mom, I’m hungry, can I have a bag of chips?  You’ll say, Mom, Mom, I’m hungry, can I have a bunch of grapes?  And if you say that I guarantee you she’ll say yes every single time, and they’ll be just as good.
     So if we start teaching different habits, if you guys ask for different things, then eventually that will help with your health.  And if you’re moving and exercising, that will make you healthy and that will help cure the -- solve the problem of obesity.  But we’ve got a lot of work to do and we’re going to need all of you to help us do it.
     Q    What is your favorite part about being the First Lady and having the power to change like the world and stuff?
     MRS. OBAMA:  Oh, did you hear that?  I have the power to change things.

     Q    Yeah.

     MRS. OBAMA:  Yeah, yeah.  My favorite thing is, you know, the feeling that with even small gestures you can impact people’s lives in ways -- I mean, sometimes it’s not even doing anything, but the fact that I can go to a school just for a visit and bring attention to what they’re doing just by coming to visit.  I can use this platform to highlight issues that are important and to point out people that are already doing really good things.

     So it’s not always anything that I can do, but it’s helping other people get the attention around the good things that they’re already doing -- hard work and sacrifice, people who are doing things for their families.  It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to shine the light.

     Like, today we’re getting to see how smart you guys are, the whole country is getting to see just how bright and engaging you guys are and how eager you are to ask questions and to learn.  And that’s important for us to remember every day, just how important our young people are and just how curious and ready to do anything you all are.  So that’s fun.