Remarks by the First Lady at a "Drink Up" Event
State Dining Room
3:37 P.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Well, hello, everyone. (Applause.) You guys, sit. You never know how long to clap for the First Lady in her house, do you? (Laughter.)
Well, welcome to the White House. I want to start by thanking Annalisa for that very kind introduction, and I want to thank her and Larry for their outstanding leadership. We are so grateful to the California Endowment and PHA for helping families across America lead healthier lives.
And of course, I want to thank all of you for your tremendous support of the Drink Up campaign. We’re here today because of your passion -- mine, too -- your dedication and creativity. And I’m so appreciative of everything you’ve done to make Drink Up such a success.
Now, as we all know, Drink Up is based on a very simple fact –- that water is good for you. Right, you two? We have little people in the press. (Laughter.) We have many young people in our press pool. I love that. Do you know that water is good for you? It’s good. (Laughter.)
So when the Drink Up campaign was launched last year, it had one simple goal: To get kids and families excited about drinking water. Pretty cool. To each -- to achieve that goal, the campaign brought together folks from every part of the water community –- tap water, filtered water, bottled water. It was like the “who’s who” of water all here to help with Drink Up.
And you all reached out to some of the brightest minds in advertising and research, and some of the biggest media and Internet companies as well as celebrities and elected officials from across the country who helped out on this campaign. And together, they launched a nationwide marketing campaign for water, a campaign featuring public service announcements, branded re-useable water bottles, social media and so much more.
And as a result of this effort, today, I am thrilled to announce that less than one year after Drink Up was launched, bottled water sales went up three percent among folks who saw these ads. And overall water consumption has jumped nearly three percent as well. Now, this is pretty major. It’s an important step forward. Because we’re talking about people all across this country who are drinking more water every single day, which was one of our goals.
So make no mistake about it, when we make a real effort to promote healthy products, when we put as much energy and creativity into marketing healthy products as we do for junk food, then kids actually get excited about these products, and families actually buy them and consume them.
And as we’ve seen with the success of Drink Up, when folks start making these healthy choices, that’s not just good for families, it’s good for our companies’ bottom lines. Because when people get educated about the food and beverages they buy, the demand for healthy products rises, and that’s really what we want to see happen. And often, when businesses step up to meet that demand, their profits rise too, and everyone wins.
And that’s why I am so thrilled about the additional commitments being announced today by Brita, the California Endowment, First 5 Santa Clara County, Haws, Nalgene, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and S’Well Bottle Company. They’re giving grants to community groups. They’re distributing reusable water bottles and donating hydration stations to schools and communities, all of which are branded with the Drink Up logo. And they’re doing a whole lot more.
So I’m confident that in the coming months and years, we’re going to see people across this country drinking more and more water. And here’s the thing: If we can achieve that kind of success in marketing something as simple as water, then I know we can do the exact same thing for any healthy product -- whether that’s fruits and veggies, or whole grains, or lean meats and dairy products, we can get kids to enjoy these things, too.
And let’s be clear: What I’m talking about today doesn’t just apply to the companies who make these products. Any organization or institution can get creative about promoting healthy products. And that’s particularly true when we’re talking about our kids.
Just take the example of our school lunch program. Ninety percent of our schools are now successfully serving healthier lunches to our kids all over this country. And in a survey released just this week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it showed that a strong majority of school nutrition directors report that their programs are running smoothly, and that kids –- particularly elementary school kids, the youngest kids -– are truly enjoying these new healthy lunches. Go figure.
And in a number of school districts, participation in the lunch program has actually risen. And there’s a simple reason for that: It’s because those districts actually put some effort into marketing the new meals to the kids. They didn’t just sit back and say, well, the kids like junk food so let’s just give them junk food.
Instead, they embraced higher standards and more nutritious options, and they worked hard to get the kids excited about them. They did taste tests. They came up with new recipes. They did everything they could to make healthy eating fun.
And today, we’re seeing the results, especially among younger kids. Guess what they’re doing. They’re adapting. They’re adapting. They’re getting used to healthier food, and they’re developing healthy habits early on that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. And that’s our job as adults. Being the adult in the room means we make responsible decisions for our kids even when it’s hard, and then we stick with it. We stick with it. Because in the end, we’re in charge -- even if it doesn’t always feel that way. (Laughter.) And no matter what, we don’t give up on our kids. And we don’t give up on their health and their futures.
And when we stand firm, the grownups, when we get creative and innovative with the folks behind Drink Up, we know we can get kids to enjoy food and beverages that are good for them. As First Lady, I’ve seen this happen in schools and communities across the country. And as a mother, I’ve seen it happen at my own kitchen table. So that’s why I know that we can do this. And I know that many of you have seen it, too.
So we need to keep moving forward on these issues. We need to keep pushing to market healthy products to children and families. We need to keep working together within industries and across industries to help our kids lead healthier lives. And if we do all that, then I am confident -- I continue to be confident that we can give our kids the bright, healthy futures they deserve. Right, guys?
So with that, now we’re going to have a little fun. The work is over. We’re going to -- first of all, thank you all again for everything you’ve done for Drink Up. And I want to invite you guys to head out to the South Lawn, because we’ve got a group of really tremendous kids who have worked on a pretty neat surprise that they would like to show to you. So with that, I’m going to step out and you guys are going to meet me outside. Gentlemen, you may want to take off your jackets because it’s hot outside. (Laughter.) You may do that. The First Lady has given you permission. (Laughter.)
But congratulations on all the success. I look forward to working with you all in the months and years ahead. We’re going to keep moving forward on this issue and we’re going to slowly see some real changes in our kids, and they’re going to thank us for it when they’re old like us, right? All right, thank you all. (Applause.)
3:47 P.M. EDT