WASHINGTON • Former US first lady Michelle Obama has vigorously defended the healthy eating initiative that was her biggest legacy at the White House, telling a public health summit here that something was "wrong" with an administration that did not want to give consumers nutrition information or teach children to eat healthily.
"We gotta make sure we don't let anybody take us back," she said on Friday. "You have to stop and think, why don't you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you? And why is that a partisan issue? Why would that be political? What is going on?"
In a 43-minute conversation, peppered with sarcastic remarks and veiled references to the Donald Trump administration, she discussed topics from life since her husband left the presidency to her Let's Move! initiative.
"Take me out of the equation - like me or don't like me," she said. "But think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap... Why would you sit idly and be OK with that? Because here's the secret: If someone is doing that, they don't care about your kid."
The comments were her first public remarks on the Trump administration's assault on nutrition policy, which has seen the delay of rules meant to reduce sodium and refined grains in school lunches and provide calorie counts on restaurant menus.
SOMETHING IS WRONG
You have to stop and think, why don't you want our kids to have good food at school? ... And why is that a partisan issue?
MRS MICHELLE OBAMA, in a pointed attack on the administration.
She was speaking at the annual summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America, an organisation she helped found to extend her nutrition policies to the private sector.
Mrs Obama's work on nutrition was often controversial. Critics said she overstepped her public role by becoming so involved in policy, and frequently panned measures like the school lunch standards as examples of government overreach. Some also claimed her school meals were unpalatable, while imperilling the finances of cafeterias and increasing food waste.
Undeterred, she said she and her husband planned to make children's health and nutrition a pillar of their future advocacy work.
"You take your eye off the ball on things, you let other people determine what you're eating, what you're feeding... and before you know it, your kids have type 2 diabetes." In that situation, she added pointedly: "I hope you have healthcare."