WATERTOWN — Michelle Obama has pushed Americans to eat healthier and to exercise more. Now she says we should "drink up" too. As in plain water. And as in more of it.

The first lady, an exercise fanatic who loves French fries and whose biceps are envied by women everywhere, is getting behind a campaign being launched Thursday to encourage people to drink more plain old-fashioned water. Whether it comes from a faucet, an underground spring, a rambling river or a plastic bottle, the message is: "Drink up."

She was joining the Partnership for a Healthier America as the nonpartisan, nonprofit group launches the nationwide effort from Watertown, Wis., with backing from a variety of likely and unlikely sources, including the beverage industry, media, government and entertainers such as actress Eva Longoria. Mrs. Obama is the organization's honorary chairwoman.

Mrs. Obama said she has realized since beginning her anti-childhood obesity initiative in 2010 that drinking more water is the best thing people can do for their health.

"It's really that simple," she said in a White House statement. "Drink just one more glass of water a day and you can make a real difference for your health, your energy and the way you feel. So 'drink up' and see for yourself."

Every bodily system depends on water, which makes up about 60 percent of a person's body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. Water is also a calorie-free option for people concerned about weight control, and is largely inexpensive and available practically everywhere.

Yet despite recent trends showing a rise in water consumption and declines in the amount of soda people drink, Larry Soler, the partnership's president and chief executive, says the "drink up" water campaign is still needed. Health advocates have blamed the corn syrups and other sugars in soda for obesity.

"That's exactly the type of impact we're glad to be seeing, and we want to accelerate that because we still have an enormous problem in this country with rates of obesity," Soler said.

Sam Kass, executive director of "Let's Move," the first lady's anti-childhood obesity initiative, cited federal statistics showing that about 40 percent of people drink less than half the typically recommended eight cups of water a day and that about one-fourth of kids below age 19 don't drink any plain water at all on any given day.

Soler emphasized that the campaign is not about pushing a particular type of water, or stressing water over other beverages, although Mrs. Obama in the past has counseled people to switch from sugary soda to water and has talked about seeing improvement in her two daughters' health after making that change in their diets.

The first lady also has been criticized by people who accuse her of being the nation's food police.

"Every participating company has agreed to only encourage people to drink water, not focus on what people shouldn't drink, not even talk about why they may feel their type of water is better than another," Soler said. "It's just 'drink more water.'"

The first lady has recorded individual messages that are to air from morning to night Thursday on various TV talk shows, including "Today," ''Good Morning America," ''Nuevo Dia," ''Despierta America," ''The View," ''Live With Kelly and Michael," ''Katie" and the late-night programs with comedians Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jimmy Fallon. The hosts also will drink water on air and encourage viewers to do the same.

The campaign's logo, a blue water drop with the words "drink up" in white, eventually will be plastered on millions of packages of bottled water, individual bottles of water themselves and reusable bottles, Soler said, as well as on more than 10,000 outdoor public drinking fountains.

The American Beverage Association, which represents the makers of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, juices and juice drinks, and bottled water and water beverages, supports the campaign, as does the International Bottled Water Association, among others, Soler said.

Individual bottled water brands behind the push include Aquafina, Dasani, Deer Park, Evian, Nestle Pure Life, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills, Soler said. The Brita water filter company also is on board.

Watertown, which is located on the banks of the Rock River in southeastern Wisconsin about midway between Milwaukee and Madison, is home to two companies with ties to the soft drink industry. Wis-Pak Inc., which manufactures and distributes Pepsi-Cola products, has its corporate office there with about 200 workers and is among the city's top 10 employers, according to the local Chamber of Commerce. The smaller 7-Up Bottling Co. is a family-owned beverage distributor.

Neither company returned telephone messages left Wednesday seeking comment on the campaign.

During the event at Watertown High School, Mrs. Obama will lead a "drink up" toast and participate in a variety of festival-like water games.

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(11) comments


This visit from the First Lady brought a ton of business to town, along with a great reminder. Thank you from Watertown!


Doesn't our First Lady have anything better to do? Of course we should drink more water.


Why in the world would someone in the leadership position of Mrs. Obama, want to try & lead by example. Reuters just published that the annual cost to Health Care in the United States from Obesity is only 190 Billion dollars a year. So what's the big deal? As Dean Wormer said in Animal House " You can't stay, drunk, fat & stupid your whole life"...

I'm in favor of education and pushing people to stop drinking sodas and choose Water instead. I just don't know why she needs to fly here when she could do a public service announcement to the entire US.


maybe they felt WI needed extra education on this issue due to excessive other types of beverage drinking and too much drinking of sugary drinks leading to obesity..I support the campaign! We need to get thru to people to start doing some more healthy habits. our healthcare system cant afford all these obesity related illnesses!

Support the campaign, but do we really need to fly her to Watertown? The Public wasn't even allowed at the event....so why did she fly all the way here to hold a private "rally"???
It's like all of Barack's events. they are all totally staged to appear like they are citizens, but they are all on his team.

What an incredible waste of public Money. We have to fly the first lady around along with the secret service detail to tell people to drink Water? Really? It comes out of every faucet in the US. If you're thirsty...Drink.


Speaking of a waste of money, at least for Wisconain, how about Walker flying all over the country.

It must cost about 100 times more for anything Michelle does compared to walker. the security detail alone is ridiculous. He is actually an elected official. She is just the wife of one.


....and a black one at that.


These hired posters work for Scatty - you don't think they're going to critcize anything he does, do you?

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