Michelle Obama's Plan to End Childhood Obesity Epidemic

I see the Food Police in our future…

Spearheaded by Michelle Obama, a new presidential initiative would reverse the child obesity epidemic.

Everbody agrees that eating healthier is better. But what if you can’t afford healthy food? A box of pasta and a block of Velveeta is a heckuva lot cheaper than organically-grown whole grain breads and fruit imported from Asia. Not to mention the fact that the crud they put in our food has a great deal to do with our “obesity epidemic”. We put bovine growth hormone into the beef cattle to make them bigger, what makes us think that when we consume the beef, it’s not going to make us bigger?

Besides which, should it really be the job of the White House to monitor everybody’s food?

The White House plan makes 13 recommendations for empowering parents and caregivers. Key elements of these recommendations are:

The food and beverage industry should extend its voluntary self-regulation to restrict all forms of marketing to children.** If this does not happen, federal regulation should be considered**.

"You WILL conform. If not, it could become most unpleasant for you. Verstehen Sie, Kamerad?"

Media and entertainment companies should limit licensing of popular characters to healthy food and beverage products.

Right. “Okay, kids----no more chicken nuggets and fries if you want to get the Captain Midnight figurine with the movable arms and legs; from now on, you have to eat broccoli and Brussels sprouts to get it.”

Yeah, that’ll work. :rolleyes:

Encourage schools to upgrade cafeteria equipment to support healthier foods. Example: Swap deep fryers for salad bars.

Please. How many kids do you know who will sit down to a nice green salad? You can provide only healthy food, but it won’t do you a bit of good if the kids won’t eat it.

Encourage local governments to attract grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods.

Who’s going to pay for the security for these grocery stores in the “underserved neighborhoods”?

The EPA should assist communities building new schools to place them on sites that encourage walking or biking to school.

Impractical in many, many areas of the country. Not everybody lives in the city, Michelle.

Increase the number of safe playgrounds and parks, particularly in low-income communities.

Again, who’s going to pay for the security to make these places safe?

All in all, I agree with a lot of what she’s proposing—but an awful lot of it in an unworkable liberal pipe dream.

Just my 2¢.


So your position on the obesity epidemic is… don’t try to fix it? I see an argument couched in hypotheticals and cynicism.

All in all it doesn’t look too bad. I’d like to mention some past unworkable liberal pipe dreams (women’s suffrage, child labor laws, bill of rights)

Everything is an epidemic these days. The plumpness of its citizens is not the responsibility of the American government. It is absurd, but watch all the people who wholeheartedly give up their freedom in exchange for a facade of safety/health.

When an ADULT spends his/her own hard-earned money on junk food, that’s neither my business nor the government’s.

However, when MY tax dollars go to feed someone else’s CHILD junk food in school–especially under the false pretense of being ‘nutritionally sound’–that hacks me off.

Don’t get me started on the USDA–possibly the most corrupt, bloated, under-handed, money-grubbing, and worthless agency in this country.


Welcome to the land of the “I hope the president fails”, the party of “No”. If he or anyone near his administration is for it, they are against it. What does the worth of an idea matter?:shrug:

Just have kids bring their own lunches. Then parents will actually have to parent.

Well, what is the worth of this idea?

What’s being put into our food is ignored, and maybe the federal government should be looking into that more than what people are being served or choosing to eat.

Look at some of what is going on, aside from the BGH being given to cows (both dairy and meat) from which we get our food (and apart from the fact that people were not permitted by the FDA to label their milk BGH-free because that would imply that BGH milk was not so good!). Consider the proliferation of high-fructose corn syrup in foods, even foods which are not supposed to be sweet (why such sweet spaghetti sauces? They taste like dessert!). Consider too that there is estrogen, which causes weight gain, in our water supply.

All of these things are things which could be considered part of the government’s purview, partly the federal government, partly more local governments.

But what Mrs Obama is suggesting seems to me to violate the principle of subsidiarity, not to mention that the state and federal governments have been working for decades to centralize schools.

A generation of physically and mentally sicker, lower productivity people doesn’t help anyone.

(And the person who said kids won’t eat salad? Yes they will if that’s all they have.)

It’s in the best interest of any nation to have healthy citizens, and it’s a good investment to promote healthy eating and exercise because it will mean lower medical costs down the road. You might well save money by investing in health.

It won’t be all they have. They’ll start bringing lunch instead of buying. Jamie Oliver did this show in West Virginia, and when they started serving the healthy food, the lunch baggers jumped way up.

If only she had considered another epidemic: the epidemic of STDs and teen pregnancies:

The number of children living an abstinent lifestyle as measured by the USDS Healthy Living Index. A score of 100 out of 100 indicates a healthy abstinence. Today’s score: 33%. The goal is to score 100% by 2015.
The amount of sexual comments in tv shows available to teens.
The amount of immodestly dressed people in teens’ movies.
The number of teens meeting abstinent behavior guidelines.

Fighting Obesity in Early Childhood
The White House plan makes 12 recommendations for early childhood. Key elements of these recommendations are:

Educate and help teens avoid the occasions of sexual temptation.
Encourage and support abstinence.
Federal and state agencies should prioritize research into reasons some teens and younger engage in sexual activity
Educate and support parents in efforts to reduce kids’ screen time (i.e. less time watching television and using digital media and more time being physically active),. so much of which portrays pre- and extra-marital sexual activity as something to be desired.
Improve federal childhood and teen abstinence education programs.

Fighting Childhood Obesity by Empowering Parents and Caregivers
The White House plan makes 13 recommendations for empowering parents and caregivers. Key elements of these recommendations are:

The federal government should work with local communities to spread the word about need to reduce teen pregnancy and teen STD rate.
The FDA and USDA should work with the entertainment industry to develop abstinence-supporting messages and labeling for such.
Condom vending machines should display failure rates.
The entertainment industry should extend its voluntary self-regulation to restrict all forms of sexual marketing to children. If this does not happen, federal regulation should be considered.
Media and entertainment companies should limit licensing of popular characters to abstinent-supporting corporations.
Insurance plans should cover services needed to help prevent for teen and pre-teen sexual activity.

Update federal standards for abstinence ed and improve the abstinence quality of USDS sex ed provided to schools.
Increase funding for school libraries.
Encourage schools to upgrade libraries to support abstinence. Example: Swap The Scarlet Letter for The Catcher in the Rye…
Improve abstinence education in schools and make it more available…
Promote healthy behaviors in juvenile correction facilities.

Now *this *is something I would be willing to ignore violations of subsidiarity for!

What will you do for poor families that are on assisted lunch as it is?

I know plenty of kids who eat salad and other healthy foods because that’s what they are given to eat. They certainly won’t eat it if it isn’t offered to them…

And having kids bring lunches won’t make parents parent, as it was put. The really lousy parents just won’t do it and then you have kids with no lunch.

I wouldn’t want the government imposing much on the private sector as people have to make their own choices, but I don’t have a problem with them affecting change in schools and I don’t have a problem with them encouraging the private sector to provide healthier options, I just wouldn’t want them forcing it on private companies.

Possibly re-instituting vigorous PE classes daily would make a difference. It has been abandoned in many, many schools, and to the extent it still exists there really isn’t all that much exercise involved in it. I was unaware how widely it has been abandoned until I heard an educator talk about it as part of the problem.

I will say that it would be difficult to imagine sweeter, more fatty lunches than many of my peers ate in high school. However, if one lifts weights and runs laps for an hour each day, it makes a great deal of difference.

Even in grade school, a lot of the vigorousness has gone out of recess; possibly due to fears of injuries, etc.

It would still be a matter of numbers, and how many would eat the healthy lunch vs. bring junk from their parents. (Educating parents on this issue could help as well, as well as helping people afford healthy food if they can’t.)

Just think of the enormous healthcare costs, costs in lost work days when people get sick. It’s a numbers game, if having these initiatives will change a certain of number of people they will be a benefit to the country.

Take that, and make a mandatory PE class requiring kids to run for an hour every day. That alone would go a huge way toward improving their health.

she might want to take a look at the federally funded “snack program” that her husband’s confreres are trying to push on every school, day care, CCD-RE and children’s program down here, whereby the government pays for a pre-packaged treat (shipped from Hawaii of all places, nothing like cutting down on transportation costs and saving energy) full of HFCS, trans-fats and devoid of any nutritional content, paired with a sugar sweetened beverage composed primarily of artificial coloring, flavoring, and water. Your tax dollars at work. If the gubmint has their way every child in the Valley will ingest this slop every day at their school, CCD, scout meeting or day care. Did I mention childhood obesity is the biggest and fastest growing (pun intended) health problem here?

She might also want to look at Texas’ education policy that has virtually eliminated PE, gym and active play at recess in favor of extra study to pass the TAKS test–assessment of basic skills, made necessary when the state embraced her husband’s predecessor’s no-child-left-behind policy.

The one meal at school isn’t going to make kids any skinnier. They eat far more at home than they do at school. Americans need to get on the bandwagon of this issue, but mandating it in school and have Michelle Obama as the leader won’t change that.

It would be a start, exposing kids to healthy food and exercise in school could at least show them another way of life. Kids do spend some 8 hours a day there after all

Handle them the same way we do out of school? Some more food stamps so their folks can see to the kids’ lunches beforehand.

Not necessarily (and most schools feed two meals, not one). When my children were young, we lived in an extremely economically-depressed area of rural Appalachia. 76% of the children in my daughters’ school were on Welfare, and 92% were in the reduced price or free meal programs (these figures were given to me by a staff member, when I was volunteering at the school). So these two meals a day were indeed the bulk of these children’s food intake.

While I do agree that permanent changes need to be made in the home, I think giving kids two decent meals a day is still better than junk food 24/7.


Hey, I don’t have a high opinion of the president, but I am glad that Michelle Obama does want to address this issue. I am glad that it is getting coverage (unlike Barbara Bush’s very good issue of promoting adoption - which is near and dear to my heart). And many students I had taught who did get the two free meals still managed to find money to buy spicy Cheetos and pour all sorts of fattening stuff on them at lunch time. Addressing this issue is a good thing.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.