President Obama makes first remarks on the health benefits of eating veggies.

Yesterday in Chicago, anemia President Barack Obama delivered a speech on healthcare reform at the Annual Conference of the American Medical Association.

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Fast forward the video to the 17 minute 20 second mark to catch these two paragraphs (excerpted below.)  They mark the first time the President has publicly discussed some of the benefits of healthy eating in the context of the White House Kitchen Garden.  And  perhaps there was no better audience than stewards of our health with whom to introduce the garden into his public policy dialogue.

The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. (Applause.) That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and for the health of our children. (Applause.) It means quitting smoking. It means going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside. (Applause.)

It also means cutting down on all the junk food that’s fueling an epidemic of obesity — (applause) — which puts far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That’s a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters. As some of you know, we started a White House vegetable garden. I say “we” generously, because Michelle has done most of the work. (Laughter.) That’s a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.

We look forward to hearing more of President Obama’s thoughts on the garden as time marches on…and perhaps he’ll even have some time to weed.

Don’t forget to thank the First Lady for planting such an incredible, inspirational garden!

(Photo: President Barack Obama watches his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, on TV as she breaks ground for the White House vegetable garden.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs watches with him in the Upper Press Office of the West Wing 3/20/09.  Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.  From the White House Flickr stream First 100 Days Slideshow.)

H/T to Jennifer Heigl at Daily Blender.

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