Michelle Obama Talks Turkey and National Security on the Dr. Oz Show

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First Lady Michele Obama was today’s special guest on The Dr. Oz Show, the highlight of which was an important announcement about a change that can significantly impact our children’s health and our national security—school lunches that are both delicious and healthy.

On The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz discussed First Lady Michelle Obama’s past and continual work toward healthy eating education that is focused on children to make changes that will lead to a healthier diet that is not only more nutritious, but fun as well.

Mrs. Obama’s technique is live-life-as-she-teaches-life by discussing frankly what life is like for her family at the dinner table. She said it began one day after a visit with her children’s pediatrician who told her about his concern of a “blip”—an increase in her daughters’ BMI (Body Mass Index)—that indicated a trend toward increased weight gain.

She discussed that it was then as a concerned parent she saw a need to make changes in her family’s diet after having moved into the White House and discovering that the hustle and bustle of being a First Family had altered their eating habits, and was in need of balance.

The balance she discussed included not only healthier meals with more vegetables and the use of grains in place of white flour for bread and pasta dishes, but also increased physical activity for herself, her children…and the President. One of the biggest health issues she shared was President Obama’s decision and follow through to quit his smoking habit—not as a result of spousal nagging she says; but rather, a need to set an example for his children to learn not to take up smoking.

One point Dr. Oz raised was that it was his opinion that the number one threat to national security is obesity. Mrs. Obama concurred with his opinion and discussed briefly how that it is a national security issue as reeducation for troops is needed to ensure that they are keeping their bodies combat-ready at all times.

This point on national security threats and obesity is one that has been remarked on by Retired Army Generals John M. Shalikashvili and Hugh Shelton, Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when they stated in a White House press release the announcement of President Obama’s signing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 into law:

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“Being overweight or obese is the No. 1 medical reason why young men and women are unable to join the military. Research shows that up to 40 percent of what children consume every day takes place during school hours and that 80 percent of children who were overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 were obese by age 25. The final bill includes provisions that can get junk food out of schools, nourish more kids who need healthful meals and motivate them and their parents to adopt healthful eating and exercise habits. Military concerns about the fitness of American children are not new. When the National School Lunch Act was first passed in 1946, it was seen as a matter of national security. At the time many military leaders recognized that poor nutrition was a significant factor reducing the pool of qualified candidates for service. Our country is facing another serious health crisis. Obesity rates threaten the overall health of America and the future strength of our military. We must act, as we did after World War II, to ensure that our children can one day defend our country, if need be.”

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act signed in 2010 allows the USDA, for the first time in over 30 years, to receive federal funding and the opportunity to make reforms to school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children.

As to what parents and their children can expect to see toward changes in school lunches in the future, Mrs. Obama provided one example on The Dr. Oz Show as she displayed a sample lunch where the typical school favorite of bean burrito meal (white flour wrap) with mozzarella cheese, apple sauce, orange juice and 2% milk is replaced with a submarine sandwich consisting of 1 ounce of turkey, 0.5 ounces of low-fat cheese on a whole wheat roll. Side items include refried beans, green pepper strips, cantaloupe wedges, skim milk and mustard or low-fat mayonnaise or low-fat ranch dip.

Other proposed changes include replacing the main dishes of hot dogs, pizza sticks, breaded beef patties, and cheese pizza with whole wheat spaghetti and meat sauce, chef salad, oven-baked fish nuggets, and whole wheat cheese pizza. These changes are expected to be instituted nationwide in the near future.

Health officials and supporters of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act believe that both the short-term and long-term benefits will significantly cut health costs and turn the tide on the obesity epidemic in America.

Image Source: Courtesy of Wikipedia

References:

The Dr. Oz Show

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act proposed menu plan

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