Last week, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard pledged his commitment to child health and wellness through Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school health and wellness program that encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Launched by National Dairy Council and the National Football League, in collaboration with USDA, Fuel Up to Play 60 has activated more than 8 million students in 70,000 schools nationwide, including more than 111,000 students in South Dakota, to be healthy, get active and make a difference.
This program aligns itself nicely with Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, along with the new MyPlate dietary guidelines. It seems Americans are becoming increasingly aware of food and nutrition these days, and a microscope has been placed on the First Family, creating some controversy about whether the Obamas practice what they preach.
For example, one noteworthy food fight going on is between Michelle Obama and Paula Deen. Both are busy promoting books with very different messages. Michelle’s "American Grown" advocates eating homegrown veggies (word on the street is her White House garden was a flop this year), while Paula Deen’s "Southern Cooking Bible" advocates buying a deep fryer.
In 2008, Obama appeared on Deen's cooking show, and the famous cook references the experience with the First Lady in her cookbook and in her latest media interviews.
"She's no different than the rest of us. She probably ate more than any other guest I ever had on the show! She kept eating even during commercials. Know what the Obamas' favorite foods are? Hot wings. Y'know – those kinds of foods that aren't necessarily top-of-the-list healthy foods. We had the best time when she came on the show and I taught her how to make fried shrimp and fries. It was easy to see by her buff arms that the First Lady follows a healthy lifestyle. But, it didn't stop her from enjoying the food," says Deen.
Meanwhile, President Obama emphasized his wife's commitment to encouraging the nation to eat healthier on the Jay Leno Show last week. He talked about his wife's candy treat selection for Halloween trick-or-treaters, saying, "Halloween is coming up, and Michelle has been giving, for the last few years, the kids fruit and raisins in the bag. I think the White House is going to get egged if this keeps up. We need to throw some candy in there. A couple Reese's Pieces or something."
As America's waistline continues to expand, programs like Fuel Up To Play 60 and Let's Move are extremely relevant. Perhaps it's a little obsessive to worry about what Michelle Obama is eating for lunch today, but discussions like these allow cattle producers the perfect platform for talking about how beef plays a role in a well-balanced, satisfying diet.
And, while you're enjoying your Halloween feast, be sure to tune in to I Am Angus this evening. The American Angus Association® is launching its season of I Am Angus programs with an upcoming broadcast at 8 p.m. EST tonight. The hour-long documentary celebrates the history and legacy of the Chicago Stockyards and the world’s greatest livestock show — the Chicago International. For more information on tonight's program, link here.