The First Couple’s Fitness and Food Advice

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:

The first couple are out in full force on the glossy pages of health magazines promoting good health -- from eating right to exercising.

In three interviews, for “Men’s Health,” “Women’s Health,” and “Children’s Health” -- all out on newsstands Sept. 15th -- Mr. and Mrs. Obama discuss their family’s quest for healthy and balanced living.

In his interview for the cover story of “Men’s Health” magazine, the president says he would consider a so called “sin tax” on soda and other sugary products.

“I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring,” the president says. “There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else. Obviously it’s not the only factor, but it is a major factor.”

But Mr. Obama adds that there is obvious “resistance” on Capitol Hill to these kids of taxes.

“Legislators from certain states that produce sugar or corn syrup are sensitive to anything that might reduce demand for those products. And look, people’s attitude is that they don’t necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that. It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people’s health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful.”

The president says his push for healthy Americans starts in the Oval Office, joking that the ever-present bowl of green apples set on the coffee table was “our first step toward health reform.”

Mr. Obama divulges his workout schedule: 6 days a week -- 2 cardio days and 4 weightlifting days, which he splits between upper and lower body.

“My blood pressure is pretty low, and I tend to be a healthy eater,” he says. “So I probably could get away with cutting [my workouts] back a little bit. The main reason I do it is just to clear my head and relieve me of stress.”

The first lady similarly discusses her own fitness and healthy eating regime in dual interviews with “Women’s Health” and “Children’s Health.”

“French fries are my favorite food in the whole world. If I could, I’d eat them at every meal -- but I can’t,” Mrs. Obama says, “My whole thing is moderation. If I make good, healthy choices most of the time, then having what I love every once in a while won’t hurt. I have to exercise and eat in a balanced way. If I start ignoring both, I will put on weight. I am fortunate in that I’m five-eleven, so it takes a while for the weight to be seen, but it’ll come! It’s just distributed more. If I didn’t exercise and eat right I would be heavier, and I have been.”

Weight issues, the first lady says, had also been a problem issue for one of her daughters, until a pediatrician alerted her that she may need to change her family’s diet.

“I hadn’t even noticed,” Mrs. Obama says. “She was cute. Just a little brown kid; seemed fine. But I made some very minor changes. We eliminated processed food. We took sugary drinks out. We tried to have [family] dinner more. We put more vegetables and fruits into our diet. It was very minor stuff.”

Mrs. Obama says neither she nor the president nags their children about their food choices, but they do set limits.

“I’m the mom, so I monitor -- I am with the kids every single meal. But dad is no slouch, either. He doesn’t believe that the kids should have dessert every single night; that should be a weekend treat. Although, you know, there’s the exception if there’s a birthday party, if they go to a friend’s house. What we try to do in our household is to make the primary source of their food mostly healthy and balanced, so that they don’t have to worry when they go to a birthday party or when they’re at a sleepover. They’re not hoarding junk food because they don’t get it at all.”

The first lady also says there are some fast-food places that first tweens Malia and Sasha “refuse to go” because they’ve learned home some food is prepared.

-- Sunlen Miller

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