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Michelle Obama Visits Longwood Church, Disney For 'Let's Move!'

Michelle Obama Visits Longwood Church, Disney For 'Let's Move!'

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First lady Michelle Obama toured Orlando on Saturday to preach a gospel of healthy eating at a Central Florida church and to motivate some 500 kids to exercise at Disney World. Her appearances at Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood and at the ESPN Wide World of Sports marked the second anniversary of "Let's Move!" — her initiative to tackle the growing epidemic of childhood obesity by encouraging families to make their lifestyles healthier. "This is about a challenge that many of us believed was too big, too entrenched for us to solve," Obama said at Northland. "That problem is that one-third of our children are overweight or obese, and they're at risk for serious conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease. "We as a country cannot fulfill our promise if our children cannot fulfill their promise." She praised the churches that have organized walkathons and Zumba classes and the families and kids who are eating more vegetables and getting off the couch. "I hope that all of you will embrace these efforts on behalf of our children," she said. "If we embrace this, our kids will embrace it." Orlando was the last stop of a three-day tour to promote "Let's Move!" She arrived in Central Florida Friday night, to dine in Ocoee with Patrice and Kern Halls and their two sons. The family has changed their diet, dropping the potato chips and junk food and eating more vegetables. Dinner featured jerk chicken, brown rice and peas, sautéed zucchini and salad. On Saturday morning, some 3,000 people, from 120 different churches of 15 varied denominations, enjoyed an energetic church revival at Northland, with gospel choirs and motivational speakers that had the audience physically moving. Donna Richardson Joyner, a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, revved up the crowd with a dance routine that had them waving their arms and swaying their hips. Pastor Larry Mills, of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Orlando, explained how his church is building better health in the community, by hosting a health clinic, where 90 percent of the patients aren't church members and by holding fitness programs at the gymnasium. The Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland and a spiritual advisor to President Barack Obama, warmly greeted the first lady. Michelle Obama recounted her own Chicago childhood, when there wasn't 24/7 Internet and children played all afternoon before eating a home-cooked family dinner. Eating out was a rare treat, and she recalled one time that she and her brother convinced their grandmother to splurge on takeout hamburgers. Grandma did, but insisted on also feeding them canned peas. She acknowledged the stress of today's busy families, who opt for drive-through meals, but urged them to return to the habit of family dinners. "For many of us, food is more than just nourishment," she said. "It's how we pass down traditions." In the afternoon, she kept true to the "Let's Move!" message by dancing and exercising with some 500 children at the Champion Stadium in the Disney complex. Sen. Bill Nelson, who turns 70 this year, was one of the first to greet the crowd. Not wanting to be outshone by Obama's skill with pushups, he completed 51 military-style pushups at a brisk pace. Sharing the stage with Perry the Platypus, the character from the popular cartoon, "Phineas and Ferb," Obama learned a "Platypus Walk," a choreographed dance that had the crowd twisting their hips and shaking their arms. The kids split up into different exercise stations offering tennis, soccer and sprints. Obama joined a group playing tennis, returning several volleys from kids trying their best to stump her. She also also displayed some slick footwork at the soccer station. But most of the kids were happy just for the chance to high-five her and give her a hug. Brandon Delfosse, a 13-year-old Orlando Science School student, said he knows several kids who are overweight and could heed the healthy message. "The worst thing I see in the cafeteria is food that isn't good quality. I see lots of food cooked in butter, frozen, fried food, soda," Brandon said. "It definitely needs to change." READ MORE: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/health/os-first-lady-michelle-obama-lets-...