The event highlighted a part of “Let’s Move” that encourages physical activity throughout the school day.
Mrs. Obama was joined by retired NBA center Shaquille O’Neal and two Olympians, sprinter Allyson Felix and gymnast Dominique Dawes. All four later changed into sweat clothes to run dozens of the elementary school pupils through a series of aerobic exercise drills.
Uli Becker, president of the North American division of Reebok International, announced that BOKS, an initiative of Reebok and the Reebok Foundation that provides physical activity and nutrition before school, will provide 500 schools with grants of $1,000 each to adopt the program.
The consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest criticized O’Neal’s participation as inappropriate. O’Neal has a new line of cream sodas that the group says has 270 calories and 17 teaspoons of sugar in each 23-ounce can. The CSPI says sugary drinks are a leading cause of obesity.
O’Neal said it’s up to schools and parents to keep children active and in shape, as he said his mother did with him.
“As parents, everything that we do for our children should be done in moderation,” O’Neal said in an interview with The Associated Press after the event. “I don’t drink my soda every day.”