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Michelle Obama: The Causes That Have Defined President Barack Obama's First Lady

By    |   Monday, 08 Jun 2015 04:34 PM

For decades it has become the norm for first ladies to target specific issues and causes in American society in their work. America’s most recent first lady, Michelle Obama, has certainly followed this tradition.

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And while she has followed the tradition of working for a cause, this first lady has branded herself with causes both common and uncommon of her predecessors – military support and childhood obesity, respectively.

Obesity
As the founder of the “Let’s Move!” program, Michelle Obama has emphasized her commitment to ending childhood obesity. “Let’s Move!” focuses on healthy choices for children through “providing healthier food in our schools, helping kids be more physically active, [and] urging companies to market healthier foods to our children,” according to the White House website.

She often will lead by example, having the White House kitchens serve only organic food and writing a book on her gardening at the White House, Biography.com said.

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But as the national face of this cause, Obama also is faulted when policy implementation doesn’t always run smoothly. Many school kids nationwide have taken to social media to blame the first lady for their lunch options, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Sam Kass, executive director of “Let’s Move!,” told Washington Post complaints like these are nothing new, but Obama’s new standards are drawing more attention to it.

Military Support
Partnered with Vice President Joe Biden’s wife Jill Biden, Obama createdJoining Forces, a program to support service members and their families. The program supports employment, education, and health care programs, according to its website.

Higher Education
As the third first lady with a post-graduate degree according to History.com, Obama’s latest cause centers on continuing education past high school. In 2014, she created the “Reach Higher” initiative to address this cause.

“Once you’ve completed your education you’ll have the foundation you need to build a successful life,” Obama said at a high school speech introducing the new initiative. Time reported this cause may be more political than others, aligning with President Obama’s goal to have the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.

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For decades it has become the norm for first ladies to target specific issues and causes in American society in their work.
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