I understand that first ladies need to have some sort of program to support, much like Miss America has to have a platform. Something to keep them busy, I guess. And I’m not against preventing childhood obesity. But I am against the government overstepping its bounds.
From the first link, at the New England Journal of Medicine.
The program’s main antiobesity strategies are empowering parents and consumers by revamping the nutritional labeling of products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), improving the nutritional standards of the National School Lunch Program, increasing children’s opportunities for physical activity, and improving access to high-quality foods in all U.S. communities
Are you kidding me?
OK, so first, it’s going to create a new set of regulations and rules for labeling. I wonder what percent of Americans currently utilize the food labels as is. I know most of my friends do, but I don’t think we’re typical. Additionally, just like with putting calorie counts on restaurant menus, is this REALLY going to affect people’s food choices? Do they have any studies to support the feel-good idea of revamping labels?
Second, improve school lunches. Yeah, I think most people think school lunches kind of suck. Actually, pretty much most cafeteria foods (anywhere) suck. It’s partly the nature of the game – feeding a lot of people, cheaply, in a short period of time. My SIL is a school lunch lady, and though we disagree on a lot of things, I do agree with her feelings on this. The bigger problem with school lunches might be that they’re not being eaten. At the elementary school where she works, any kid who didn’t bring their lunch MUST take a hot lunch. The number of hot lunches that go into the garbage without being eaten is staggering. Not eating anything is worse for your health than eating kind of crappy foods. So the challenge here is making food that kids will eat, and making it healthy also. (and please don’t tell me that if they’re hungry, kids will eat the green beans they’re served at lunch.)
Third, increasing children’s opportunities for physical activity. Is there a large population of US children who spend their days chained to chairs, unable to engage in physical activity? Actually, the answer to this is surprisingly YES – the vast majority of American children attend school for 8 hours a day, the vast majority of that time is spent sitting, with severe penalties for getting up and moving around. But I think it’s safe to assume that Michelle Obama is talking about time outside of school. I think every American child has plenty of opportunity for physical activity. Whether or not they choose to avail themselves of their opportunities is another thing, and is none of the government’s business.
Fourth, improving access to high-quality foods in all US communities. I actually posted an excellent idea that would do just this over at Natural Living Des Moines. However, I do think this is something that should be (um, according to that pesky Constitution) handled at a local level.