Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011

Michelle Obama

Declaring herself "first mom," Michelle Obama got right to work on the defining issues of her children's generation: obesity and improving the health of America's kids.

Her Let's Move campaign put obesity in the headlines in part because Americans under 25 are the first generation expected to live shorter lives than their parents because of diet-related illnesses. But Obama, 47, urged people to get up and do something. She convinced her husband to establish America's first Childhood Obesity Task Force. She planted a teaching garden at the White House and reminded Americans that to know their farmers is to know their food. She enlisted the country's leading chefs to work with local schools and start cooking; at last count there were more than 1,000 such partnerships.

She's encouraging mayors around the country to embrace obesity-prevention programs. And perhaps most incredibly, she's had frank and challenging dialogues with some of America's largest corporations and persuaded them to change their business practices for the sake of the children.

While she knows none of these changes are easy, she's stood firm in her conviction that if we all just eat better and move more, then we can fight obesity. For her inspirational work, I salute First Lady Michelle Obama — a true revolutionary.

Oliver is a chef and the founder of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation