(MIAMI) — While Michelle Obama’s husband, the president of the United States, is fighting fires in Ukraine, battling Congress and traveling the country, the first lady is dealing with a crisis of sorts much closer to home.
Obama, 50, is preparing for a rite of passage faced by parents everywhere; her eldest daughter Malia is getting her driver’s license.
“She’s that age,” Obama told ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts of Malia, who will turn 16 this summer. “I’m good with it, as long as somebody else is riding with her.”
Malia and sister Sasha, 12, have been a point of interest for the media and U.S. public alike since they entered the White House with their parents after the 2008 election.
The Obamas have made a point to keep their daughters’ lives as normal as possible while living in the White House.
“Right now, whether you like me or the president, people in America are praying for those two little girls,” she said. “And that’s one of the many reasons why they’re standing up straight.
“They are still the light of our lives,” Obama told Roberts. “It is not a day that goes by — and I’m trying to stress this to them — that I don’t worry about, that I am not thinking about their well-being and how they’re handling this stuff.
“I’m just so proud of how they have managed all this with poise and grace and maturity,” she said.
The first lady sat down with Roberts this week in Miami at the BET Network’s 5th Annual Leading Women Defined Summit, where she also discussed another cause close to her heart: lowering childhood obesity.
Though a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released last month showed a 43 percent drop in obesity rates among children ages 2 to 5 during the past decade, Obama, whose “Let’s Move!” campaign aims to encourage healthier habits in kids, says there is still “a lot of work to do.”
“The statistics are still pretty abysmal for everyone else,” Obama said. “But what it shows is that we are creating a new norm for what a healthy environment looks like, or should look like for our kids.”
Obama also spoke out on a top initiative of her husband, the president’s “Affordable Care Act,” which came under fire after a rocky start with online registration.
“Because of the Affordable Care Act, people now have an option, affordability,” Obama said. “The accessibility of it will allow the average American to get an insurance plan for less than $100 a month. That’s the cost of a cellphone bill, a decent pair of sneakers.”
The first lady also said it is most important for young people, whom she described as thinking “they’re invincible,” to sign up for health care coverage by the end of this month.
“As I joke with many of the young people in my life, you all are the ones who need insurance because you’re out there living crazy,” Obama said. “You’re the one at the club in heels at three o’clock in the morning, walking on ice, you know?”
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