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Michelle Obama: Eleanor Roosevelt ‘My Idol’

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First Lady Michelle Obama admits that former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was a great inspiration for her as she developed her “Let’s Move!” program to fight obesity.

“Eleanor Roosevelt is one of my idols,” she said in an interview with Cooking Light magazine. “She is probably one of the greatest first ladies that have ever lived, with her active engagement in this country and being able to shift norms in ways that are important.”

Part of her inspiration for her own healthy garden was Mrs. Roosevelt’s idea of a “Victory Garden” in every household during the war.

She recalled her parents telling her stories about the victory gardens on the South Side of Chicago.

“There were victory gardens everywhere,” she says. “Families that were poor—folks that came from large families, like my parents, where there were six, seven kids each—you relied heavily on those gardens to incorporate vegetables. And that was a tradition.”

Part of her focus on returning to the idea of a family garden, she explained, was to return to the principles enshrined by old traditions.

“People are busier today. Life is different. We’re never going to go back to the way things were when my grandma was coming up,” she admitted. “But we have to find those new norms—the new healthier norms.”


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