ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The economy can make it harder for families to make healthy choices but childhood obesity threatens America's future, first lady Michelle Obama said Thursday.
During an appearance in Alexandria, Va., with Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Dr. Judith Palfrey, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in Alexandria, Va., the first lady said childhood obesity is "nothing short of a public health crisis threatening the future of this nation."
The first lady and the officials released a paper by the surgeon general on the public health challenge of obesity and toured a YMCA playroom that featured physical activities, including interactive video games good for groups, bikes set up so kids can race others on a screen and a dancing game.
Obama told an audience that included representatives from scouting, the YMCA, YWCA, Children's Defense Fund, Girls Inc. and the National PTA that the activity room represented the "next generation" and should be encouraged in other places.
"It's just easier" to order pizza or go through a fast-food drive-through, especially in tough economic times, she said.
Obama said her family is making healthier choices by limiting TV time, keeping an eye on portion sizes and some "very minor stuff" like throwing apples and water bottles into her daughters' school lunches.
"Small changes can lead to big results," Obama said.