Sasha and Malia Obama already have it pretty rough. Like the First Families that proceeded them, they're under constant scrutiny, held to very high (if not impossible) standards. Despite it all, they seem determined to have a relatively normal childhood. I am a very big fan of how the former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, handled the press regarding her daughter Chelsea during her husband's two-term presidency. I call her the First Mama Bear, as she lashed out at media attacks on her daughter's looks and their desire to pry into young Chelsea's social life. She was successful at keeping the ravenous paparazzi at bay, which is most impressive.

Mrs. Clinton set a stern precedent in this aspect. So when I read all the headlines about Michelle Obama's comments that basically threw her daughters under the fat bus, I was a little shocked. I know the diseases of eating disorders, and I know the triggers. First there is the danger zone, which the Obama daughters are already in. They are female, young, watched relentlessly, judged, and followed, and their failures are seen as a direct reflection of their parents' ability to lead. All in all, it's a considerable amount of pressure for young girls to have to navigate around.

So why, I wondered, would their mother add to the pressure by sharing the most sensitive details of a private doctor's appointment with the entire nation, if not the world? I shudder to think about how mortified I was when my mom yelled out the car window, “Don't kiss any boys!” in front of my Jr High school dance...with everyone watching...and then laughing. That humiliation, which is still cringe-worthy two decades later, is nothing compared to this maternal sell-out.

But as I started researching, it turns out Mrs. Obama said some things that were helpful, thoughtful, and (shock) actually sensible. She didn't put her daughters on a “diet,” as some blogs wrote. She didn't even tell Malia what she was doing. She just switched out the juice drinks for water, added fruit to every meal and cut out television during the week. And guess what? It worked. It worked so well the doctor asked what she had done. To which she replied, “Not much.”

She emphasized that she never made a big deal about the changes to the girls, in total contrast to what I believed after reading just read the headlines. I was imagining the girls on a treadmill with the First Lady nearby yelling that the Presidency rested on their tiny tween shoulders and that their fat butts needed to get in shape. (I have a pretty active imagination.)

Now, full disclosure: I did not vote for Obama. I don't agree with everything he's done. And, to be even more frank, I went into this thing wanting to scold the First Lady. Doesn't she know how difficult it is for her daughters? Doesn't she know she just made things worse? Couldn't she have protected her daughters' privacy and used anonymous examples?

And based on my research, I have to answer, no. She had to use the very personal story to make it relatable to the American people.

We have a very big problem with childhood obesity rates, and for Mrs. Obama to step up and share a story that is very personal, confusing, and difficult for a mother is admirable. When her doctor told her that Malia had a higher than desirable BMI index, she didn't put her head in the sand and go into denial. She very easily could have just said, "She's just got baby fat."

But instead she tackled the issue with a level head and made healthy choices. She made small changes, small changes that made a big difference. I don't think her public statements could have made an impact on the public consciousness if she'd told the story about her, uh, “friend”...Rochelle Gobama. If she just stood at that podium and said small changes make a huge difference, invariably people would think, “How do you know? Your kids are perfect, thin, and you have all the money in the world.” Her story was, quite honestly, refreshingly helpful.

Remember Betty Ford? Her husband was President Ford. Betty Ford was an alcoholic when you didn't talk about being an alcoholic. You definitely didn't talk about it when you were living in the White House. Mrs. Ford has helped countless people who struggle with very real and ugly addictions. If she would have just kept up the public image and saved face, who knows how many people would have gotten irretrievably lost inside their substance abuse problems.

When I watched the video, I saw Michelle, not just the First Lady. And I liked what she had to say. More than that, I think I may actually do some of the things she said. And that's the sign of an effective leader.

Will her daughters be embarrassed? Probably. Will they become anorexic? I sincerely doubt it. Their mother seems to be a grounded, reasonable, and sensitive woman.

Who, if you believe the headlines, makes her daughters run ten miles a day.

Video clip to Michelle's statements.