Who can blame us, yearning for arms like Michelle’s? Wanting the option of sleeveless dresses once in a while? Wanting to take a run without hearing the sad flap, flap of loose, shapeless flesh, a sure sign that even with all the yoga and juice cleanses, aging is, indeed, inevitable?
Even so, who would have guessed that the First Lady’s sleek, powerful arms could have such a profound impact: According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, arm lifts in women have increased more than 4,000 percent in just over a decade. The society reports that “in 2000, more than 300 women got upper arm lift procedures. Last year, more than 15,000 did.”
Here are the latest numbers for 2012, according to a news release:
–Overall: 15,457 – up 3% since 2011 / 4,473% since 2000
–Women: 15,136 – up 4,378% since 2000
–98% of arm lift patients were women
–Most popular with patients over 40. The majority, 43%, of patients were ages 40 and 54, 33% were over age 55.
–Average surgeon fee: $3,939 / total spent on arm lifts: $61 million Continue reading
Those enviable upper arms are at it again.
Hoping to extend the reach of her three-year-old Let’s Move! campaign, Michelle Obama today made a pitch for kids to be more active at school. The First Lady’s new initiative, Let’s Move Active Schools, is partnering with 9 organizations — including one based at Tufts — to help combat childhood obesity by instituting a range of creative, accessible programs for kids to get more exercise through fun, school-based activities.
The Huffington Post covered Ms. Obama’s announcement this morning: “With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money and the will to help our kids be active. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying,” the first lady said in her prepared remarks. “It means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and nonprofits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative.”
Christina D. Economos, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and a leading researcher in the field of childhood obesity prevention. She’s also Vice-Chair and Director of ChildObesity180, a nonprofit based at Tufts that is working with the First Lady and supports a variety of strategies to help kids become healthier through improved nutrition and physical activity.
Piggy-backing on Ms. Obama’s news, ChildObesity180′s program, the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), made its own announcement today: the group will award grants totaling $1 million to 1,000 schools to launch one of three award-winning physical activity programs. Each of the three plans — one started by a bunch of moms in Natick, another called the 100-Mile Club and a third that supports short bursts of activity in urban classrooms — are fun for kids, accessible and have shown both physical and behavioral benefits, like better concentration in class, Economos said. Continue reading
Michelle Obama speaks at the DNC (Getty Images).
On my late flight from California last night, the screens on the seats in front of me were a sea of blue background: Almost everyone was watching Michelle Obama’s convention speech. Today, a cutting commentary by Kerry Howley on Slate’s XXfactor makes a very good point about what the first lady didn’t say. (NPR has the full transcript of her speech here.) What we learned last night, it says, is that apparently “Michelle Obama has never aspired to anything but to be the most powerful mother on the planet.”
Says the first lady:
“Our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys: … Saturdays at soccer games, Sundays at Grandma’s house … and a date night for Barack and me was either dinner or a movie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn’t stay awake for both.”
What we never learn, in this 3,000-word speech, is why Michelle Obama was so exhausted. Had she just finished a three-hour marathon? Was she ill? Pregnant once again? That she had spent the day corporate lawyering, or acting as an assistant to the mayor of Chicago, or filling various executive positions with the University of Chicago Hospitals, is not a detail she chooses to share. You would never know from last night’s speech that Obama had ever exerted herself in any way in exchange for legal tender.
The commentary makes the point that the Obama team was trying to “out-traditional” the Republicans, and mentions Hillary Clinton’s fateful remark about deciding not to stay home and “bake cookies.” Sigh. Now where did I put those Tollhouse chips?
More on what isn’t said at the conventions: A hilarious Washington Post essay, The convention speech you’ll never hear.
Just in case you’re not a regular reader of the journal “Childhood Obesity,” FLOTUS — The First Lady of the United States — has written the foreword to this month’s edition. She begins with her initial doubts about whether progress fighting children’s obesity was possible:
When I first decided to focus on the issue of childhood obesity, I wondered whether it was really possible to make a difference. I knew the conventional wisdom on this issue —- particularly when it comes to changing how and what our kids eat. There’s the assumption that kids don’t like healthy food, so why try to feed it to them? There’s the belief that healthy food doesn’t sell as well, so companies will never change the products they offer. There’s the sense that this problem is so big, and so entrenched, that no matter what we do, we’ll never be able to solve it.
Now, she writes, she’s thrilled to report that “We have begun to change the conversation about childhood obesity in America.”
I know, I know, it’s political and there’s a very, very long way to go to reverse the current wave of childhood obesity. But I’m a sucker for good news, and she offers a nice roundup of some: Continue reading
Those arms, that style, it must be … Michelle Obama grooving to Beyonce while promoting her “Let’s Move” campaign. (We promise this is the last of Beyonce on CommonHealth for a while!)
Check out this ABC News video of the First Lady at the Alice Deal Middle School in DC yesterday showing the tweens how its done. (It’s hard to imagine Laura Bush, or Hillary Clinton for that matter, doing the “Dougie” or the “Running Man” with such authority…)