Michelle Obama thanks government employees

WASHINGTON (AP) - Michelle Obama is thanking federal employees for their service and sacrifices as they do more work with fewer resources.

The first lady thanked hundreds of workers at the Interior Department Tuesday for putting the country "on the path to energy independence," protecting precious natural resources and preserving monuments for future generations to enjoy.

She said the department's work is not only vital to the country's economy and preserving the environment, but critical for children's health in the nation. Mrs. Obama- a proponent of physical fitness and healthy eating for children- said playing outdoors is an inexpensive way to keep youth moving, which benefits both their physical and emotional health.

She previously visited the department and several others in 2009 after President Barack Obama was first elected.