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Michelle: I Wake Up, Go to Bed 'Worrying About the Health and Well-Being Of ... Every Kid In This Country'

9:34 AM, May 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Michelle Obama has a lot on her mind. According to the first lady of the United States, she's constantly worrying about "every kid in this country."

"[A]s parents, there is nothing that we would not do for our kids -- there is nothing.  Not a thing.  We always put our kids' interests first," Obama said at a school nutrition event earlier this week. "We wake up every morning and we go to bed every night thinking and worrying about the health and well-being of our kids.  I know I do that with my kids, and I do it with every kid in this country."

The event was billed by the White House as "a discussion with school leaders and experts on issues about school nutrition."

Obama praised the experts she was addressing.

"Because of you and your colleagues across the country, today, tens of millions of children are eating healthier school meals that finally meet modern nutrition standards -– standards, by the way, that were developed by experts at the Institute of Medicine, and based on sound science," she said.

And I know that this type of major transformation of our nation’s school lunch program hasn’t been easy. The truth is that when it came to the food being served in our schools, we had our work cut out for us. Our school lunch program costs taxpayers more than $10 billion a year. And before these new standards, a lot of that money was spent on meals that had more than the recommended amounts of salt, sugar and fat -- meals that weren't meeting basic nutrition guidelines.

But today, thanks to the hard work of school chefs, food service workers across the country, 90 percent of schools are now meeting modern nutrition standards. That’s a good thing. And the USDA is working to provide greater flexibility and more assistance to help the remaining schools catch up.

So today, kids across America are eating more fruits and vegetables -- let’s hear it -- (applause) -- more low-fat dairy products and whole grains. And as a result of these changes, in many school districts -- which is important to note -- the number of students participating in the school lunch program has actually increased. And today, more importantly, parents across the country finally have some peace of mind about what their kids are eating during the school day.

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