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Michelle O: Economy to blame for kiddy obesity

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Add the economy that has both parents struggling to make ends meet as a cause kids are getting fat, according to White House health advocate, first lady Michelle Obama.

Speaking at a health event at George Washington University Friday, she said that parents are just too busy trying to make enough to put food on the table to figure out if its healthy.

"Unfortunately, over the past 50 years, it's gotten a whole lot harder for many families to make healthy choices. For starters, people have a lot less time. Back in 1980, way back then -- just 39 percent of married families had two working parents. But today, it's nearly 60 percent."

And just consider how many hours it takes to pay the bills today, she said. "Just three decades ago, the average employee worked 180 hours less each year than today's average employee."

Under President Obama's leadership, households have about $3,300 since 2008. The recent "fiscal cliff" deal also forced wage earners to increase their Social Security payment, taking about $1,000 out of their paychecks. Double that for dual income households. Gas prices under Obama has also surged.

"So for many parents, every day feels like a cross between a high wire act and an obstacle course, and there simply aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done," said the first lady. "And I know a little bit about what that's like. While I have plenty of help and support today, I didn't always live in the White House. And it wasn't that long ago that I was a working mom, juggling a demanding job with two small children and a husband who traveled.

"So I didn't exactly have time to peruse the aisles, thoughtfully reading labels. And I know my experiences are not unique. I mean, every day, parents across this country are doing that same frantic grocery store sprint."