Michelle Obama praises South Carolina exercise efforts


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Michelle Obama congratulated dozens of local elected officials, including councilwomen from both Richland County and Columbia, at a White House ceremony Wednesday that celebrated healthy lifestyles.

“You do not have to do what you’re doing,” she told the group. “It means a great deal, not just to me personally as the first lady, but to all those kids that are living in your communities who are counting on all of us to get this right.”

Data handed out at the event showed that Richland County was above the national average in the rise in obesity from 2001 to 2009. Obesity in both males and females grew more than 8 percentage points during that time; 33 percent of men and 41 percent of women in the county are considered obese, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

“It was kind of sobering,” Columbia Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine said about learning the obesity figures. “These statistics indicate to me why we need to step it up.” Devine and Richland County Councilwoman Julie-Ann Dixon were among 39 officials from across the country invited to the White House.

More than 300 cities participate in the collaboration between the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and the National League of Cities. Elected officials are encouraged to meet certain goals including expanding participation in the National School Lunch Program, access to playgrounds and healthy food options in publically owned venues. Columbia is currently in the top 20 of participating localities.

While Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties only focuses on children, Devine said that promoting a healthy lifestyle for families has a large effect on children who see their older family members as role models. She added that family fitness programs and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin’s annual bike tour have had the added advantage of giving families ways to spend quality time together.

Dixon not only praised the health benefits of slashing the obesity rate in Richland County, but also gave a more practical, business-oriented reason for residents to stay healthy.

“We want to attract businesses coming to Columbia,” she said. “And if they know that our residents have a healthy lifestyle, then they will want to do business with us.”

Email: bkamisar@mcclatchydc.com

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino speaks during a news conference outside the Capitol on Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Albany, N.Y.

    Cuomo's biggest test is corruption probe handling

    Allegations that Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration meddled with his own state anti-corruption commission are posing the greatest political test of his tenure — and highlighting his skill at high-wire verbal gymnastics.

  • Doctors' PAC helps Roberts in Kansas Senate race

    Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is getting help in his Republican primary race from a political action committee representing tea party challenger Milton Wolf's fellow radiologists.

FILE - Int this Dec. 8, 1987, file photo, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington. In an escalation of tensions, the Obama administration accused Russia on July 28, 2014, of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time. The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's intervention in Ukraine and Russia's grant of asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

    US accuses Russia of violating 1987 missile treaty

    The Obama administration accusation that Russia violated a key nuclear weapons treaty leaves the future of the 26-year-old accord in question and further dampens President Barack Obama's hopes to burnish his legacy with deeper cuts to nuclear arsenals.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category