Michelle Obama in Mexico: Lessons on fighting childhood obesity
First lady Michelle Obama met with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala Wednesday to talk about combating childhood obesity, among other issues. Mexico's obesity strategy may hold a few lessons for the US on how to trim waistlines.
Mexico's violent drug war tops the list of Mexican concerns and priorities. But a close second, if the Mexican media is any gauge, is Mexican obesity.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Michelle Obama in Haiti and Mexico
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As first lady Michelle Obama continues her visit with counterpart Mexico's Margarita Zavala it is not the beheadings or daylight shootings that have dominated their conversations – but the ways in which to empower children.
“It’s so good that Mrs. Obama is interested in this in the US,” says Juan Rivera, the director of the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health at Mexico’s National Institute for Public Health. Ms. Zavala, who is well-loved just as Obama is in the US, cares deeply about the subject, too, says Dr. Rivera, even if she isn’t the spokesperson of a crisis that Mexico is aggressively tackling. “I hope [Obama’s] presence can contribute to a more important role for the first lady here.”
First lady's and road trips
Of course Ms. Obama’s first international visit unaccompanied by the president – which first included a stop unannounced in Haiti Tuesday – has captivated the public, the way Eleanor Roosevelt’s trip to Ireland and England did in 1942. That was the first time any American first lady traveled abroad unaccompanied. Jacqueline Kennedy similarly drew worldwide attention with her 1962 solo trip to India and Pakistan, says Carl Sferrazza Anthony, historian of the National First Ladies’ Library in Canton, Ohio.
It's not surprising that the daily newspaper El Universal in Mexico ran a spread of all of the dresses that Obama has donned since becoming first lady, and included small shots of the magazine covers she’s graced. The level of attention a trip generates usually boosts popularity, says Mr. Anthony, as it did for Jacqueline Kennedy. But he adds, “The thing with Michelle Obama is, I don’t know how much farther her stock can go up.”