SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- First Lady Michelle Obama visited a Walmart store here on Thursday to promote her campaign to fight childhood obesity. Obama's stop was part of a two-day tour around the country to celebrate her "Let's Move" campaign.
Obama visited the Neighborhood Market that opened about six months ago on Glenstone Avenue at Bennett Street. She spoke for about 10 minutes, ending around 4:20. Her motorcade left for the airport shortly after 5.
Obama praised Walmart for giving customers what she called "healthy products at a price they can afford" and for opening stores in under-served communities. She also toured the store with Walmart officials, who showed off a new "Great For You" icon that the store uses to highlight healthy foods.
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Earlier Thursday, the first lady was in Chicago to announce a new public-private partnership to help schools get students to be more active. "Let's Move Active Schools" includes a website where schools can sign up to get started.
On Wednesday, Obama stopped in Mississippi to highlight that state’s progress toward reducing childhood obesity. She said Mississippi is inspiring other states and communities by citing research showing a 13 percent decline in obesity rates among elementary school students between 2005 and 2011 in Mississippi.
KY3's Jerry Jacob covered the first lady's visit to Springfield. Various members of the media also had closer access to provide pool reports to other media. KY3's Jerrod McCully shot pool video. The Springfield News-Leader's Dean Curtis shot pool still pictures. The News-Leader's Kathryn Wall provided a pool narrative, which follows:
It was a scene not that uncommon in Springfield—sort of.
A group of moms—and a dad—walking down the aisles of the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Glenstone Avenue, checking labels and swapping recipes on a regular Thursday. Except, of course, that one of those moms is the First Lady of the United States. Secret Service agents hovered close by and a bank of reporters with cameras recorded every move.
Michelle Obama was in Springfield to celebrate the third year of her Let’s Move initiative to combat childhood obesity. She joined Springfield residents Stephanie Kennedy, Camielle Famous, Jennifer Sickinger and Stephen Roberts to highlight the progress made by Walmart to make the food it sells healthier and more affordable.
As part of the effort, Walmart unveiled its “Great for You” icon. The icon only appears on certain foods deemed to be the healthiest options, said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of Sustainability for Walmart. It’s being rolled out in stores across the country now.
Thomas showed Obama and the group the differences between the foods with the icon. For instance, 1 percent milk gets the green logo, but 2 percent does not. And, Thomas emphasized, foods with the icon won’t cost more.
Obama said affordability is just as important to her as improving the health of food.
“We were hearing from families, ‘Well, I can’t afford to eat better,’” Obama said.
Sickinger said she appreciated the icon’s simplicity.
“I really appreciate just something quick, visual to look at,” she said.
Obama emphasized that healthy doesn't have to be hard—especially now that Walmart has made significant strides in improving its food.
Here are some highlights. Since first joining the Let’s Move effort, Walmart has :
- Reduced sugars by more than 10 percent in targeted categories including dairy, sauces and fruit drinks.
- Reduced sodium by 9 percent in areas including grain products, lunch meats, salad dressings and frozen entrees.
- Reduced sodium in the commercial bread category by 13 percent through partnerships with suppliers.