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First lady brings childhood obesity fight to NH

By Garrett Brnger
Associated Press / March 9, 2012
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CONCORD, N.H.—Michelle Obama brought her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity to New Hampshire's capital Friday during a visit to a neighborhood nonprofit group.

Mrs. Obama stopped by the Penacook Community Center in Concord, which has a child care facility that helps children exercise before and after school and teaches them about healthy eating through use of a vegetable garden.

During a quick visit with the center's 4- and 5-year-old children, Mrs. Obama emphasized proper nutrition, using plastic food.

"I can see you're all eating healthy foods," the first lady congratulated them.

"Those are toys!" one child responding, laughing.

Mrs. Obama did a "bunny pokey," shaking her "bunny tail about," before sharing a snack of yogurt, fruit and White House honey with the children. Afterward, she spoke to a crowd of about 100 on the importance of fighting childhood obesity.

"Regardless of where you live or what you do, we care about our kids, and we want them to be the healthiest that they can possibly be," she said.

The first lady congratulated New Hampshire on its existing health programs as well as some efforts under way.

She congratulated Mayor James Bouley and the Capital Area Wellness Coalition on its work to promote healthy lifestyles in Concord. Bouley started the coalition, made of business and civic leaders, in 2009 to improve the city's health.

She also welcomed the capital as the second New Hampshire city to join "Let's Move Cities and Towns." Keene was the first. Plans are under way to bring the initiative to 10 more cities and towns in the state.

Mrs. Obama's host, PCC, aims to be the newest "Let's Move Child Care" center by providing children with one to two hours of physical activity, limited screen time and healthy food and drink choices.

New Hampshire's first lady, Dr. Susan Lynch, joined Mrs. Obama during her visit. A pediatrician and fellow advocate against childhood obesity, Dr. Lynch introduced Mrs. Obama and championed her initiatives.

"Now we can go out and teach children about healthy foods to eat and how to stay fit, but (if) we as adults aren't responsible and don't go out there and provide safe places where children can get affordable, nutritious food and find safe places to play, we're not going to be successful," she said.

Mrs. Obama's visit is the third in as many weeks by White House officials, reflecting the coming presidential campaign season. President Barack Obama visited Nashua last week to promote his American energy initiatives, and Vice President Joe Biden came to stump in Manchester the week before.

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