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Michelle Obama, the bionic woman, urges US to run, skip and hula hoop for fitness

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The hula hooping was easy peasy - Michelle managed 142 swivels
 Photo: © Getty Images

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Daughters Malia and Sasha would have been a little less impressed with her skipping technique, even though she got top marks for effort
 Photo: © Getty Images

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The athletic display was in the name of encouraging young people to exercise and eat healthily
 Photo: © Getty Images

22 OCTOBER 2009

This is not the kind of activity you can imagine Laura Bush engaged in or even our own Sarah Brown or Cherie Blair.

Self-styled Mom-in-Chief Michelle Obama put her heart, soul and hips into her campaign to encourage healthy living among children on Wednesday.

Slipping off her shoes, the US first lady tackled an obstacle course laid out on the White House lawn.

Cheered on by youngsters from local schools, 45-year-old Michelle exhibited a skill she'd kept quiet about up until now - her ability with a hula hoop.

During her demonstration she swivelled her hips 142 times.

Skipping double dutch-style - that is, with two ropes on the go in opposite directions at the same time - proved less of a forte.

After entertaining the crowds with her athletic display, the mother of two went for the hard sell, telling kids to stop complaining when vegetable appear on their plate.

Imitating a whiny child Michelle said: "I don't wanna eat it. I don't like it. It tastes bad. I don't want it."

"We don't want to hear the whining. We want you to eat it. Just eat it."

But she said junk food was fine occasionally, admitting that "there's nothing that the first family loves more than a good burger".

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