- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama knows how to strike a pose — a yoga pose, that is.

The first lady exercised with local D.C. students Wednesday afternoon. The event marked Mrs. Obama’s launch of her recast President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

The council, formerly the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, will now include an emphasis on healthy eating habits.

One in three Americans is overweight or obese, Mrs. Obama said. “We’re spending billions of dollars on treating obesity-related conditions and we can’t afford to keep going down this road,” she said.

Mrs. Obama said Congress needed to set stricter nutrition and exercise requirements for public school students.

“I urge Congress to provide the resources we’re going to need to support these important programs,” Mrs. Obama said. “This is an important time.”

Yoga was only one of the fitness stations that was set up at the event, which was staged inside the Bell Multicultural High School gym in Columbia Heights in northwest Washington.

Mrs. Obama also jump-roped, juggled with scarves and helped assemble trail mix snacks with the students, along with star athletes including gymnast Dominique Dawes, figure skater Michelle Kwan and NASCAR driver Carl Edwards — all council members.

It’s not just about calorie-counting, Mrs. Obama said. She stressed the importance of striking a balance between exercise and nutrition.

“Our goal is to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation,” she said.

Earlier Wednesday, the first lady thanked hundreds of Justice Department employees for helping to keep the nation safe from terrorist attacks and for working tirelessly to ensure that there is accountability in the Gulf oil spill.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to attend the fitness event. His appearance was canceled Wednesday afternoon.

“Trust me, he would rather be here,” Michelle Obama said.

Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this report.


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