Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New White House Video: First Lady Michelle Obama Taking On "Food Deserts"

First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agrilculture Tom Vilsack talk about "food deserts" in this new White House video, and it's an attempt to clarify exactly what a food desert is. USDA published an entire study on food deserts in June of 2009; read it here. An important finding of the study is that few Americans lack actual access to food--but the foods they have the most access to are the most unhealthy. Mrs. Obama is seeking to dramatically change this. As mentioned here before, Mrs. Obama is the only first lady in history to actively and publicly discuss food deserts, and she's set a goal of eliminating food deserts in seven years. 23.5 million Americans live in food deserts, and 6.5 of these are children.

Last week, for the first road trip for Let's Move, her child obesity campaign, Mrs. Obama visited Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to highlight the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a federal fund that encourages markets to build in communities that have little or no access to affordable healthy food. She was accompanied by Sec.Vilsack and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and part of the video is from the visit. After the market visit, Mrs. Obama gave a speech at Fairhill Elementary School, where she spoke about Let's Move and the financing initiative to an audience of about 300 people. Ninety percent of Fairhill's students are enrolled in the federally funded school lunch program.

Related: The transcript of the First Lady's remarks at Fairhill is here, and a video of her full speech is here.

*Video courtesy of the White House