Story by SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Michelle Obama, who has planted a vegetable garden, swiveled a hula hoop, done yoga poses, lobbied Congress and crisscrossed the United States to promote the virtues of healthy eating and exercise, wants to take her campaign to reduce childhood obesity to a bigger audience: the global one.
During a wide-ranging luncheon interview with reporters, Mrs. Obama said she intended to spend part of the coming year shaping a more international message, with a possible focus on issues of maternal and child health. She expects to talk about fighting obesity when she travels with President Obama overseas, she said.
"What I find internationally, and Barack says the same thing, is whenever he meets with a world leader, one of the first things they ask him about is the garden, because the issue of obesity is becoming an international issue," Mrs. Obama said, adding that "many first ladies have begun to think about how they're going to deal with this issue."
The interview kicked off a two-day media blitz by Mrs. Obama for the first anniversary of her healthy eating and exercise campaign, "Let's Move!" She will appear Wednesday on "The Today Show" and "Live with Regis and Kelly," deliver a speech in Atlanta and introduce a public service announcement that, she said, has the potential to reach more than 200 million viewers.
She took questions for slightly more than an hour, addressing topics like Mr. Obama's cigarette habit (he quit about a year ago; "I'm very proud of him," she said), how she keeps her marriage strong ("We don't take ourselves too seriously") and what she thinks about Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, who has accused her of trying to tell Americans not to eat dessert.
"I don't think about her in this initiative," Mrs. Obama said.