What Prevention Means to Me: A Bright, Healthy Future
To me, prevention means doing little things that make a big difference.
As president, I often have days that start early and end late, but Michelle and I always try to carve out a little time to do things that help us stay healthy. Usually that means fitting in a workout in the morning or putting together a basketball game on the weekend. One of the joys we share with our girls is being able to exercise as a family, whether it's playing tennis with Malia or running basketball drills with Sasha and her friends. It doesn't matter what we do, as long as we're moving.
The same goes for eating right. While Michelle's love of french fries is well documented and I have a weakness for a good slice of pie, the key for us is enjoying everything in moderation, along with making fruits and vegetables fixtures at mealtime. We try to sit down together as a family for dinner every night, and we make sure we stay invested in each other's lives.
Michelle and I want our girls to understand how much we love them, and we express that love in many ways. One way is by paying attention to our health, so we'll be around to see them have kids of their own. Another is by helping them develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime, because the best way to avoid big problems down the road is to make little changes and improvements now.
That's true for our family and for our country. By investing in programs that help Americans live healthier lives, we will prevent illness, make America more competitive--and save money.
Government alone isn't the solution. We all have to do our part to make America healthier. Families can put more fruits and vegetables on the table and teach healthy habits. Schools can keep making lunches healthier and protect programs such as phys ed from falling to budget cuts. Doctors can help parents and kids understand the importance of early detection.
But government does have a role to play in making it easier for people to do the healthy thing. That's why, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 86 million Americans have access to preventive services such as mammograms, colorectal cancer screenings, and flu shots without paying an extra penny out of their own pockets. That's why I signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; we've launched a major effort to educate people about the dangers of smoking. And that's why, starting in 2014, the new health care law will help 32 million Americans access affordable health insurance that includes coverage for regular checkups and preventive services, so treatable illnesses don't become long-term health problems. And then there is the outstanding work that Michelle is doing with Let's Move!, which has helped get healthier foods in our schools and makes it easier for kids to get and stay active.
A little bit of prevention goes a long way. And if we work together, we can give all our children the bright, healthy futures they deserve.
happy and healthy children
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