Saturday, February 23, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama And Jimmy Fallon: The Let's Move! Third Anniversary Interview

Cheers for national progress, the state of Mississippi, corporate partner Walmart...with videos...
First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday night gave her first sit-down interview to Jimmy Fallon as the kick off for the celebration of the third anniversary of Let's Move!.  The appearance in the New York studio included Mrs. Obama and the comic doing a send-up of Moms dancing complete with Fallon clad in drag, and a wide-ranging discussion about White House life.  Before the chat focused on her national initiative, Mrs. Obama declared the First Family to be "Beyoncé devotees," discussed her hair and her love for reality TV, and described her first date with President Obama, among other topics.

Getting serious, Mrs. Obama called the national response to Let's Move! "heartening."

"We're seeing some progress, we still have some work to do," Mrs. Obama said.  "But over the past three years we've seen a culture shift. Now people understand this is an issue."

"We've got better lunches in the schools, we've got companies putting grocery stores in underserved communities, we've got our athletes, our Olympians working to get our kids more active."

And Mrs. Obama has got Fallon.  Though he seems an unlikely child health advocate, the White House loves Fallon so much that a photo of the comic with Mrs. Obama is featured on the Let's Move! Twitter page.  As he quizzed the First Lady about her upcoming three-state anniversary tour, Fallon made sure to mention her largest corporate partner, Walmart --"that's so great!" he said--and asked why her first stop will be in Clinton, Mississippi next Wednesday, Feb. 27.

"Just a few years ago when we launched Let's Move!, Mississippi was identified as the least healthy state in the United States," Mrs. Obama explained.  "And in the past few years, the obesity rate for children has declined by thirteen percent."

"Really?!" Fallon said, and led his audience in a round of applause and cheers. "Congratulations, that is great, good job Mississippi!"

Neither Fallon nor Mrs. Obama mentioned that that encouraging-sounding 13% drop leaves Mississippi's combined overweight and obesity rate for children in grades K-5 at 37.3%.  The drop was only reported for white students, and occurred over six years between 2005 when the rate was 43%, and 2011, following the state's launching aggressive intervention programs starting in 2006.

Mrs. Obama launched Let's Move! in February of 2010, and she credited Mississippi's leadership for the drop in obesity.

"Good job Mississippi," Mrs. Obama said, echoing Fallon.  "And that's what we want--we want to highlight that.  Because the Governor and the First Lady of that state, they really stepped up making changes. There's still work to do but we're so proud of their accomplishments."

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray will join Mrs. Obama in Clinton, and they'll spotlight healthy school lunches by hosting a school chef cook off that will be broadcast on Ray's show on March 11. Mississippi has focused many of its anti-obesity efforts in schools.

Anyone who battles obesity scores points in Mrs. Obama's book.  While she said she's never actually seen Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC's reality show about a child beauty pageant contestant, Mrs. Obama said she's proud of the pint-sized star's mother, June Shannon, for reportedly losing 100 pounds over the last two years, going from 365 pounds down to 263 pounds.

"Let's Move!, Let's Move!, Let's Move!" Mrs. Obama cheered.

The First Lady also disabused Fallon of the idea that she'll share what he called a "dream ticket" with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.

"You know, I have my eye actually on another job," Mrs. Obama said.  "I hear that when Jay Leno retires, 'The Tonight Show' position is going to be open, and I'm thinking about putting my hat in the ring."

The President got a little ribbing, thanks to Mrs. Obama and Fallon shimmying together in the "Evolution of Moms Dancing."  Fallon wanted to know if the President is as good at bumping and grinding as his wife.  Not really, Mrs. Obama said.

"I give him a B.  He’s got like three good moves."

The First Lady's next Let's Move! TV outing will be on Good Morning America on Tuesday, Feb. 26, when she will chat with co-anchor Robin Roberts and cook with acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson.  Mrs. Obama filmed the segment on Friday, as well as an interview for The Dr. Oz Show. 

CLICK HERE for all posts about the third anniversary.  CLICK HERE for all posts about the Obamas and Fallon.

Mrs. Obama talks TV and dancing:

Mrs. Obama discusses her "firsts:" 

Mrs. Obama on her hair and Twitter:

*Photos by Lloyd Bishop for NBC/Universal; videos via Late Night with Jimmy Fallon