Later at Brinkley Middle School, she got a rock star reception as about 1,000 people, including hundreds of students cheered loudly when she was announced at a rally.
“I picked this state because of all the creative things that are happening here to fix things,” Mrs. Obama said.

The Mississippi Department of Education has started several programs to increase physical activity at schools, boost the consumption of fruit and vegetables in lunchrooms and reduce fried foods on school menus.

Mrs. Obama praised Gov. Haley Barbour and his wife, Marsha, for leading the state’s “Let’s Go Walking” campaign, which encourages residents to exercise regularly. She also cited the north Mississippi city of Hernando for its efforts to build more sidewalks and encourage more farmers’ markets.

“We all know too many kids in this country don’t get enough exercise and they aren’t as healthy as they need to be,” she said. “Here in Mississippi, some kids struggle with this issue sometimes even more than in other parts of this country.”

The CDC has long said that nearly a third of Americans are obese. In 2009, Mississippi had the highest rate of adult obesity, 32.5 percent, for the fifth year in a row.
Mississippi also had the highest rate of overweight and obese children, at 44.4 percent in total, according to the CDC. It’s followed by Arkansas, 37.5 percent; and Georgia, 37.3 percent.