Camp Obama: First Lady Kicks Off Summer Exercise Series On South Lawn (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

05/26/2010 09:03 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

UPDATE: The first lady's blouse is from Talbots. *Scroll down for full remarks.


WASHINGTON -- First lady Michelle Obama didn't just talk. She moved, too.

After announcing plans for a summer of activity on the South Lawn to encourage kids to exercise more, Mrs. Obama shed her sweater and got down on the plush grass Tuesday with groups of 8- to 10-year-olds to do stretches, squats, lunges, planks and run various obstacle courses.


It was all part of her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity.

"The whole important word in 'Let's Move' is 'move,' right?" she said before the games began.

Mrs. Obama said too many children don't get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and that the lack of exercise is one of many factors contributing to an epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States.

One in three American children are overweight or obese, increasing their risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases.

To show youngsters different ways of getting that recommended hour of daily exercise, the White House plans to invite local children, sports leagues, community programs and coaches to play sports and other activities on the South Lawn throughout the summer. Coaches from Washington's major professional sports teams – the Redskins, Capitals, Nationals, Wizards and Mystics – helped out on Tuesday.

Mrs. Obama urged the 84 students, all from Washington public elementary schools, to use what they learned to help get their family members and friends moving too.

"What I want you guys to do is to make a commitment that you will do your best to get that 60 minutes in every single day," she said. "Will you promise me that?"

They promised they would.

After romping with the kids, Mrs. Obama and her aides persuaded some members of the media in attendance to join her in a few exercises.



Office of the First Lady


For Immediate Release May 25, 2010



South Lawn

4:10 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA: Well, it's good to see you all again! (Applause.) You are the first in this series. The first! Nobody has done this yet. You're the very first.

But let me tell you a little bit more about why you're here. As Shelly said, this is about your health. And we've spent a lot of time this year talking about eating right. And that started when we planted just behind you our garden in the White House. We call it the White House Kitchen Garden, and we planted that last year, and we worked with a lot of kids in the D.C. area. They helped us to plant and to harvest.

And the good thing about the kitchen garden is that it helped us start a conversation about eating right, because the kids got so excited about the garden, we figured that if we can get this group of kids excited about vegetables and gardening, that we might be able to take that nationwide.

So we started this campaign called "Let's Move." And the goal is to make sure that kids grow up healthy, eating well, and living better and longer, and that you learn skills that you can then teach your kids when you grow up.

And this is a nationwide campaign. I mean, we've got everyone in the country helping. We've got your parents helping, because we're asking them to do their part in making sure they know what kind of good food to serve you.

We're asking schools to do your part -- to do their part, as well. We're trying to make sure that schools around this country are serving healthy foods in your lunch rooms, because a lot of you are eating most of your meals at school, so we need to make sure they're giving you what you need.

And we're asking folks around the country -- grocery store manufacturers -- to make sure that everybody has access to good food that they can afford.

But the most -- one of the most important things that we're going to need is your effort in this, because the truth is, is that the whole important word in "Let's Move" is "move," right? One of those words is moving, because what we're finding is that kids these days aren't moving as much as they should.

You know, there's a report out that says kids should get no less than 60 minutes of exercise every single day. And around the country we just got a report that shows that in states across the country, a lot of kids aren't coming close. They're not getting just what they need. And it's hard if your schools don't have P.E. and gym, right?

If you can't do it at school, if you don't live in a community where you have sports teams and things like that, if you can't play outside because neighborhoods aren't safe, right, so your parents want to keep you inside, if you're watching too much TV and playing too many computer games -- (laughter) -- sometimes that cuts into your ability to move.

And this series that we're doing on the South Lawn is really to encourage kids, because we got this press all behind you, and they're going to show you guys on TV, and there are going to be a lot of kids going, how do I do that? You know, how do I get moving like that? They're at the White House moving. Maybe I can do this in my own back yard, in my own community.

So you guys are going to be the first example this summer of really encouraging kids to move. But we are going to need you, not just here today, but you're going to have to go home and take some of what you've learned here and teach your families and folks -- the other kids in your schools who haven't had a chance to come, and figure out how you guys can get other people in your lives moving. Can you promise me that you'll help me on this?


MRS. OBAMA: You promise?


MRS. OBAMA: Well, we've enlisted some help. We've got trainers here from some teams all around the city -- from the Redskins and the Capitals, you name it. There are people around this city who are going to be working with you guys, teaching you softball and tennis and some soccer moves and some running moves -- all things that I enjoy doing, as well as the President and our kids. So this is supposed to be fun. And I think I may get out there and run around with you, if you will allow me, if I don't get too hot. (Applause.)


MRS. OBAMA: But what I want you guys to do is make a commitment that you will do your best to get that 60 minutes in every single day, and that you will find other people in your family and your schools and encourage them to do the same thing. Will you promise me that?


MRS. OBAMA: All right, well, let's start talking, and let's start moving. Let's move! Come on, let's see what we got going. (Applause.)

END 4:15 P.M. EDT