Remarks by the First Lady at "Let's Move" Event -- Des Moines, IA
Wells Fargo Arena
Des Moines, Iowa
11:17 A.M. CST
MRS. OBAMA: This is so cool. Hey! (Applause.) Well, hello, everybody! It’s great to be here in Iowa! (Applause.) Happy birthday "Let’s Move!" Happy "Let’s Move" Day! This is terrific. (Applause.) Wow. I hear you guys have been having some fun, is that right?
MRS. OBAMA: Good stuff. You’ve got a lot of energy because you all are eating your vegetables and exercising. This is terrific.
Well, let me start by thanking the Governor for all that he’s done to make this day possible. I also want to thank Secretary Vilsack. I want to thank Mayor Cownie. I want to thank Coach Hoiberg, who has also done a lot for this day. And all the folks -- because there were so many people who helped make today possible. I want to thank everyone. But most of all, I want to thank all of you amazing, amazing young people for being here. Wow! (Applause.)
This is so cool, isn’t it? (Applause.) This is a huge day. It is a huge day. We are celebrating the second anniversary of "Let’s Move." And we could have had this party anywhere in the country, right? We could have gone anywhere, but there is a reason why we wanted to come here to Iowa to be with all of you. (Applause.) And that’s because I am so proud of what you all are doing to make Iowa the healthiest state in this country by 2016.
I am proud that you guys are starting community gardens, that you’re eating your fruits and vegetables. I’m proud that you guys are walking to school instead of taking the bus. I’m proud that you’re working hard to get that 60 minutes of activity a day, every day. I’m also proud of your government, and businesses like Hy-Vee, and community leaders across the state who are all coming together to help you guys get healthy, to keep moving.
This is exactly what "Let’s Move" is all about. We want every single state in this country to do exactly what Iowa is doing. (Applause.) And so you guys are the model -- you are the model of what every state should be doing. So we’re working to make that happen. We’re working to get healthier food into your school breakfasts and lunches, as well as into restaurants and on grocery store shelves.
We’ve invited folks like LeBron James, and Drew Brees, and Carl Edwards. (Applause.) We had the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team -- all of them have come to the White House to inspire kids just like you to get up and get active.
And as you saw from that video, right, I’ve gotten active myself. I have hula-hooped, I’ve played flag football, I got to dance to Beyoncé, do a little "Dougie" in a flash mob -- that was so cool. I even joined kids across the country to help break the world record for people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period.
And we actually did it. We blew the record out of the water. It was so much fun. So I have been having such a great time on this initiative, and it sounds like you all have been having a little fun, too, right? (Applause.) That is good. Because getting healthy is about having fun. And while we’re out there eating our good food and having a good time, it’s important to know that we’re not just making our bodies stronger, but we are making our minds sharper, too. And that is really key.
I mean, you all probably already know that when you eat healthy foods instead of chips and candy, you feel better and you have more energy. You can run faster, you can play longer, you can perform better out on the basketball court or the soccer field.
But did you know that exercises like running and hiking can actually help your brain work better, too? Did you know that?
MRS. OBAMA: Well, believe it or not, if you eat healthy food, you’re actually more likely to pass your tests and to get good grades in school. It is absolutely true. Because being active and eating healthy are a big part of reaching all of your goals, both on the playing field and in the classroom. That’s why this is so important. This is so important for you all.
So just look at some of your role models -- basketball players like Grant Hill. I mean, long before he was a seven-time NBA all-star or an Olympic gold medalist, he was just a kid like many of you, always outside playing soccer or basketball with his friends. And as he says -- and this is his quote -- he says, "Instead of playing" -- "Instead of staying home alone on the couch," he wants you to be outside having fun.
Or take Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan -- you guys met Michelle earlier, right? (Applause.) She said that when she was a teenager, she stopped eating so much junk food, and as a result her skating improved immediately -- immediately. And today, what she says is, "If you don’t eat right, you don’t perform well." Plain and simple.
And that’s true for me as well. I mean, one thing I know is that when I exercise and I eat right, I always feel better, and I always have more energy. And my husband is the same way, too. You heard of my husband, right? That guy, the President? (Applause.) Well, it’s important for you all to know that he works out at the gym almost every day before he heads to the Oval Office. Every day. That’s right -- the President of the United States exercises almost every day. So if the President of the United States can do it, we can all do it. And he plays basketball with his friends whenever he can.
But let’s be clear, you do not have to be the President of the United States, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to make exercise a regular part of your life. You don’t even have to play a sport. I mean, this is important, because a lot of kids think they have to be athletes to keep moving, but you don’t. You can just turn on the radio and dance until you sweat. You can take a walk, you can ride a bike after school instead of sitting in front of the computer. You can just get a bunch of friends together and do the "interlude dance" or throw a Frisbee or play capture the flag.
When it comes to eating right and exercising, you guys, it’s important for you to know that all of you are old enough -- you’re at an age where you can make good choices for yourselves in your lives. You guys are in the position to do that now. You’re already starting to decide so much about your lives, right? You don’t want your mother telling you what clothes to wear or who to hang out with, right? You guys are making those decisions about what clubs and sports you’re going to join, right? So you can also choose to eat healthier. That’s your decision. You can make the choice to be more active in your lives.
And in fact, that’s what young people just like you are doing every day all across this state. For example, at Indianola Middle School -- (applause) -- there they are! You know what they’re doing there? Students have joined their school’s nutrition and wellness committee, so they’re helping to design and launch programs like healthy grab-and-go breakfasts, and they have open gym time at their school. Way to go, you guys! (Applause.) And at South Winneshiek High School -- we have any South Winneshiek High School people here? (Applause.) They organized a 5K fun run. And then, at Westridge Elementary School in West Des Moines -- (applause) -- Westridge, are you guys here? (Applause.) Students there are wearing pedometers to track how far they’ve walked. And today, they’ve walked more than 33,000 miles. Very cool. (Applause.)
So today, I want to challenge all of you -- all of you here to be leaders just like that in your own schools, in your own communities. I want you guys to take the lead. I want you to think about ways that you can get your friends and your classes and your classmates involved. You can do anything, from starting a school garden club; you can organize hikes or weekend basketball tournaments over the summer. You can start a committee to make healthy recommendations for your school lunches or for your vending machines.
But the thing that is important to know: If you all start doing this, if you make the decision to be healthier, you’re going to not just make your school and your community healthier, but you’re going to help to make the entire state healthy.
And all you have to do is get to work. And you all are doing such a great job. You’ve gotten off to such a great start. But I know that we have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more work ahead if we’re going to make Iowa -- and all our states -- the healthiest that they can be. It’s going to take every one of us working together to achieve that goal, and we’re going to need all of you. Again, that’s why we wanted you to come. We’re going to need all of you to help lead the way.
So my last question for you guys is, are you ready to do that?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
MRS. OBAMA: Wait, I can’t hear you. Are you ready to do that?
AUDIENCE: Yes! (Applause.)
MRS. OBAMA: Well, all right! Then "Let’s Move!" (Applause.)
11:29 A.M. CST