While her husband prepares his State of the Union address as the administration's road map for 2010, Michelle Obama is mapping out her own agenda for this year. Members of the first lady's staff say a big part of her focus will be promoting healthful lifestyles and, especially, fighting childhood obesity. "That will be key for the year ahead," says an adviser to the first lady.
Mrs. Obama plans to announce a comprehensive initiative on childhood obesity in the next few weeks, including programs that will be run by various departments and agencies of the federal government and partnerships with the private sector.
Assessing her first year in the White House, Mrs. Obama tells advisers that the past 12 months "were about getting her family settled and getting to know her new community," says a key aide. She has traveled frequently throughout the Washington area and participated in various community-service projects.
In the coming year, she will continue working to expand programs for military families and promote volunteerism. But her main focus will be on "healthy eating, healthy families," an extension of her much-publicized White House garden, which she uses to show Americans the importance of fruits and vegetables in a nutritious diet, the aide says. Beyond all this, Mrs. Obama shows no interest in moving into a policymaking role in the manner of Hillary Rodham Clinton during Bill Clinton's presidency.