Michelle Obama to splash media with new issue: Drink more water


First Lady Michelle Obama attends a back to school event highlighting healthy changes happening in schools and across the country at Orr Elementary School in Washington, D.C. on September 06, 2013. Mrs. Obama is joined by Shaquille O'Neal, Allyson Felix, Dominique Dawes, DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and North America Reebok President Uli Becker to announce new commitments around Let's Move! Active Schools, which aims to get physical activity back into schools, before, during and after the school day. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
September 12, 2013

After 4 1 / 2 years of reminding Americans to eat their vegetables, Michelle Obama is turning her attention to what’s in their glasses. On Thursday, she and her staff will begin to ask Americans to drink more water.

“Let’s Move,” meet “Drink Up.”

In an all-out effort, Obama will fly to Watertown, Wisc. (Get it?) Actress Eva Longoria is expected to accompany the first lady.

While there, Obama plans to ask cities all over to make their town a Water-town.

She has produced personalized messages asking viewers of the most popular morning and daytime television shows to drink more water. Look for her on “Today,” “Good Morning America” and “Un Nuevo Dia,” among others. She’ll be on a dozen of them.

The message will be nearly inescapable.

On Twitter, Obama has recruited celebrities to tweet out the message at #DrinkH2O. Her team is launching a new Web site: YouAreWhatYouDrink.org

Sam Kass, the executive director of Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, said the new effort comes from a search for “simple actions” that can improve health.

“We think that a positive, forward-leaning visionary campaign to inspire people to drink more water is going to be the most effective way to help people get the amount of water they need,” Kass said in a conference call with reporters. “We are going to keep it positive from start to finish.”

Read: Obama is not telling anyone what not to drink. No Michael Bloomberg soda bans here.

Obama has instead recruited a long, long list of companies to back her efforts. They include: Nestle Waters, Brita, Dasani, Smart Tap, Evian and Voss.

They will begin to carry a “Drink Up” logo on their products.

“We have secured about 1 billion media impressions,” said Larry Soler, president of the Partnership for a Healthier America.

Obama enters the water wars as Americans are increasing their H2O intake. The Associated Press recently reported that the average amount of water people drink has increased 38 percent, to about 58 gallons a year, since 1998.

Still, Kass pointed out more than 40 percent of Americans drink less than half of the recommend amount of water daily, and about a quarter of children under the age of 19 do not drink any water on a given day.

The Institute of Medicine says men need roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. Women need 2.2 liters (about 9 cups), according to the Mayo Clinic website. That is close to the easy to remember recommendation of eight glasses of water a day.

So, how much water does the first lady drink each day?

“She is a water drinker from morning until night,” Kass said. “Obviously, I’m not with her all day, so I don’t know exactly how much. She drinks water throughout the day. She pretty much has water with her whenever I see her.”

Krissah Thompson began writing for The Washington Post in 2001. She has covered local businesses, traveled to El Salvador and Guatemala to tell stories of immigrants’ connections to their home countries and reported from the newsroom’s Prince George’s County bureau. More recently, she has written about civil rights, race and politics.
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