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Michelle Obama visits Missouri to promote anti-obesity campaign

Updated: 2013-03-01T00:36:43Z

The Associated Press

— Michelle Obama visited a Wal-Mart in southwest Missouri on Thursday to promote her campaign against childhood obesity and highlight "the groundbreaking steps" the retailer has taken to make healthy food more affordable.

"'For years, the conventional wisdom said that healthy products simply didn't sell, that the demand wasn't there, that higher profits were found elsewhere. ... Thanks to Wal-Mart, we're proving that conventional wisdom wrong," Obama said during the brief visit to Springfield.

The Springfield News-Leader reported that the first lady, who is on the final day of a two-day tour celebrating her "Let's Move" campaign, applauded Wal-Mart for giving "customers healthy products at a price they can afford" and for opening stores in underserved communities.

The Springfield store opened in May 2012 and is one of 86 stores in so-called "food deserts" — areas without easy access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthier options.

Obama toured the Springfield store with Wal-Mart officials, who also announced a new "Great For You" icon the store is now using to highlight healthy foods.

Leslie Dach, executive vice president at Wal-Mart, said Obama's campaign "has been an inspiration for all of us."

She said Wal-Mart has saved customers $2.3 billion dollars on fruits and vegetables in two years across the nation and has reduced sugar in foods.

"It's not about government telling companies what to sell or telling people what to buy," she said. She said parents and consumers have to step up, too, and take advantage of the healthier food options.

Earlier Thursday, Obama was in Chicago, where she announced a new public-private partnership to help schools get students to be more active.

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