WHO: American University experts Anita McBride, Jennifer Lawless, Stacey Snelling and Sonya Grier

WHAT: Analysis and Discussion of Michelle Obama’s unusual move to enter policy fight over school lunches

WHEN: May 27 – ongoing

WHERE: Via telephone, in-studio or at American University

Contact: J. Paul Johnson, American University Communications, 202-885-5943 or via e-mail at [email protected]

May 27, 2014 (Washington, D.C.) – First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to take on House Republicans and redouble efforts to back healthier school meal standards as part of her signature Let’s Move initiative. Michelle Obama’s unusual move to enter a policy fight stems from her signature initiative as first lady to reduce childhood obesity and her lobbying for the child nutrition law in 2010. American University experts are available to discuss Michelle Obama’s support of school meal standards from politics to nutrition.

First Ladies, Politics & PolicyAnita McBride, executive-in-residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies in the School of Public Affairs at American University, directs programming and national conferences on the legacies of America’s first ladies and their historical influence on politics and policy. McBride served as Laura Bush’s chief of staff and in two other presidential administrations.

Jennifer Lawless, professor of government and director of the Women & Politics Institute in American University’s School of Public Affairs, is able to speak about first ladies getting involved in controversial policy decisions and how Michelle Obama has avoided doing so up until now. Lawless can also speak about why Michelle Obama has decided to enter the policy fight on school meals.

Nutrition & Childhood ObesityStacey Snelling, associate dean of American University’s School of Education, Teaching and Health. Dr. Snelling has been teaching undergraduate and graduate health promotion programs for the past two decades with a focus on nutrition and behavior change, the integration of health promotion into health care, and health communication. Snelling is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the consumption of vegetables in four schools in D.C.'s Ward 7 and four schools in Arlington, Va. Through taste tests and engaging students in the preparation of healthful foods the way they want, Snelling's research shows that students' consumption of vegetables increases. Snelling can speak about her research findings and the need to not dial back on improving the healthful offerings in school lunch programs.

Sonya Grier, associate professor within the American University’s Kogod School of Business, conducts interdisciplinary research regarding the impact of marketing unhealthy foods on eating behaviors and the obesity epidemic. She has published her research in leading marketing, psychology and health journals including the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Advertising, Academy of Marketing Science Review, American Journal of Public Health, Health Affairs and Annual Review of Public Health. She also serves as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Marketing.