First Lady Michelle Obama Talks Let’s Move!, Signing up for the Affordable Care Act, and Valentine’s Day
On Air with Ryan Seacrest welcomed First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama on Thursday to celebrate the four-year anniversary of Let’s Move!, her initiative to help raise a healthier generation of kids, as well as discuss why young people should sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
Mrs. Obama also revealed what it’s like for her daughters, Malia and Sasha, to grow up in the White House and even admitted she’s not expecting anything big from husband President Barack Obama this Valentine’s Day!
Mrs. Obama’s initiative to help stop the problem of childhood obesity, Let’s Move!, was launched four years ago and has made a significant impact on children’s health today, not only in their homes, but in their schools as well.
The goal with the initiative is to solve obesity within a generation and set up children to be able to lead healthier lives, a movement she starts by doing at home in the White House.
When it comes to her two daughters, 15-year-old Malia and 12-year-old Sasha, the first lady shares: “Barack and I try to lead by example. I mean, we eat dinner together every night and we rarely miss that, even with his schedule, and we spend a lot of time talking about the issues of the day, but we talk about what we’re eating and why we’re eating it. We have a lot of, ‘Finish your vegetables’ conversations.”
“With regard to physical activity,” Mrs. Obama adds, “We’ve always, since the time they were little, put them in activities as much as possible. They’ve always had to do a team sport, as well as an individual sport, and they see us working out every morning. Barack and I work out together every single morning.”
So what is the first lady’s exercise plan? “I get up in the morning, usually either right before the kids go to school or right after, and I do about an hour and a half workout. I try to do 45 minutes of cardio and then whatever I’m doing that day,” she explains, adding that, yes, there are those days she falls off the wagon.
When it comes to food, Mrs. Obama shares, “I always have breakfast and it’s usually protein or fruit or oatmeal. I try to stay away from breads because that doesn’t give you the kind of energy you need. I always have lunch, so I have three meals a day and I try to get a snack in. Lunch is something good and healthy, like one of my favorite soups is a turkey Italian wedding soup.”
Aside from setting a good example, Mrs. Obama also tries to find fun, innovative ways to educate kids and young adults about healthy eating. A recent example is getting the stars of the Miami Heat—LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh—on board to share the message in a few unexpected viral videos, including one where FLOTUS dunked a basketball on LeBron.
“We’ve worked with … a bunch of other athletes just to get the message out about healthy eating to kids in a fun way. Because the truth is that I try to make to young people, especially teenagers who aren’t into the vegetable thing, is if they want to be excellent at their sport …they have to watch what they eat. As they say you can’t put junk into a Ferrari and expect it to go fast.”
Let’s Move! is just one of the initiatives the first lady and her husband have had a hand in to impact America. Another big moment of President Barack Obama’s term has been the Affordable Care Act.
Why The First Lady Thinks You Should Sign Up For The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010 with the goal of increasing the quality, affordability, and attainability of health insurance. There is sometimes confusion when it comes to differentiating the ACA with “Obamacare”—but the First Lady explains that essentially there is no difference.
“It’s one in the same. The Affordable Care Act allows every single American to have access to quality affordable health care, which is so important because there are millions of people out there who are worried about losing their home or going bankrupt because someone gets sick … What Barack believes is that here in America … poor health should not be the thing that causes someone to lose their home. But before the Affordable Care Act … that’s actually what was happening to people around the country.”
“But, the important thing about the ACA, as well,” Mrs. Obama continues, “is it’s not just about providing insurance to the uninsured. The act has also provided a lot of benefits for people with insurance,” like those who are still on their parents’ insurance plan. (The first lady explains that young adults can now stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26-years-old, which is helpful for young adults out of college.)
Mrs. Obama goes on to stress the importance of young people having health insurance. The first lady laughs: “Here’s the thing, young people lead risky lives. I always joke about this, but the young people are the ones out at the club at three o’clock in the morning and more likely to slip on the ice … I mean, life throws you some curveballs and young people in particular need to have insurance. If you think about it, you insure your car, but you’re not going to insure your life?”
Another benefit the first lady addresses is the cost of insurance under the ACA. “The average person is able to get private insurance for less than $100 a month. That’s less than a cell phone bill or a pair of sneakers.”
In addition, “because of the ACA, people can’t be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions … and the ACA provides preventative care. Contraception [and] mammograms are now covered, mostly at no cost.”
And for those who think the ACA is government insurance, Mrs. Obama clarifies, “These are plans provided by all the private insurance companies … so you can go on the website and get the plans and see them compared and … find the plan that works for you at the cost that works best.”
To join the 3 million people who have already signed up, go to healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 and sign up before open enrollment ends on March 31.
Life at The White House
When she’s not urging people to join the Affordable Care Act and live a healthier life, at the end of the day, Mrs. Obama is a mother and a wife.
However, being the better half of the President of the United States does come with some trying times. So what’s dinner like at the Obama’s when the POTUS has had his “butt kicked”?
“We try to just focus on family,” explains the first lady. “This is what we do during good times and bad. We make sure our home is a safe space for family, so that when Barack comes off the elevator and walks through the door, he’s just Dad. And the girls are really good at that because they’re more concerned about their issues. Like, ‘Oh, Dad, tough luck! By the way, where’s my allowance?’”
And as her daughters grow older, so has Mrs. Obama herself. But after turning 50 on January 17, she insists everything gets better with age.
“You’re more confident, you know yourself more, you’re not concerned about what other people think. And if you’ve taken care of your health, many times you can be in the best shape you’ve been in … you watch your kids grow up and I know, my girls, they’re starting to become real people with opinions and it’s just so much fun to talk to them now,” she shares.
And speaking of her two girls, what’s it like to grow up in the White House as a 15 or 12-year-old?
“Barack and I strive to make sure Malia and Sasha can lead as normal a life as possible and even though we are in this crazy bubble, they do things that normal kids do,” Mrs. Obama admits. “They go to sleepovers, they go to concerts, they go to dances.”
Still, there is one thing they don’t do just yet: date. But when they do, how will the president handle it?
“I don’t know what his strategy is,” the first lady laughs. “I don’t know what his approach will be. We haven’t really talked about it, we will cross that bridge.”
Although he may not be a big fan of his daughters dating (at least, not yet), the president is quite the romantic. So what does Mrs. Obama expect from her husband this Valentine’s Day?
Not much! Mrs. Obama explains: “This year, again, I’ve had this big birthday celebration—my husband really celebrated me so well—He did a great job. I had a great couple of weeks, so I think we’re going to low-key it for Valentine’s Day.”
Albeit, she’s not concerned he’ll be too low-key. “We have been married for 21 years and he never forgets a Valentine’s Day, an anniversary, a birthday. He’s really good at that kind of stuff.”
And just in case you were wondering, Valentine’s Day in the White House is not like in the movies, namely The American President, in which Michael Douglas‘ character can’t figure out how to order flowers.
“This is the thing about that movie,” Mrs. Obama laughs. “Once you live in the White House, you know there’s a florist in the White House. It’s like, they have really good flowers right downstairs, so why is he out there with his credit card? That would never happen!”
And last but not least, we had to know … does the First Lady watch Scandal?
“I hadn’t watched it until this past vacation and we went to Hawaii… so [we] had a long flight [and] I watched all the seasons … I love Kerry Washington. She is amazing, so it makes the show fun.”