First Lady’s First Mission In Chicago

First Lady Michelle Obama returned to her roots Oct. 25 in a literal sense to give a speech in the Southside neighborhood she grew up in. Of course, the word root can be also be used to refer to parts of the fruits and vegetables she was speaking about. Ditto for how the habits, or roots, we establish in childhood, can influence the rest of our lives. At a Walgreens drugstore, Mrs. Obama spoke to community leaders and a group of eight Mayors from across the country as part of a food desert summit. Food deserts are referred to as places where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. She recalled how she used to be able to walk down the street as a child and have different grocery stores to choose from. “But slowly, as the economy changed, many of these resources just disappeared into thin air,” she said. The First Lady and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that 17 new stores will open in the city’s South and West sides. These stores include Aldi, Wal-Mart, Roundy’s and Save-A-Lot. Walgreens will expand 19 stores to include fresh food. This is exciting news for our city. Health, along with education and income, is one of the three pillars of United Way. That is just one of the reasons why the First Lady’s work on eliminating food deserts and her Let’s Move campaign may resonate so strongly with YLS members. “Think about what that means for the health of our nation — the health care system — when healthy kids grow up to become healthy adults — adults who are less likely to suffer from illnesses like diabetes and heart disease or cancer, that cost us billions of dollars a year,” she said. “And if we transform children’s eating habits today, think about the effect that will have on how they feed their own children in the years to come.” Now that’s worthy of a fruit or vegetable toast! Photo Credit: USDAgov

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