First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign –– taking on the childhood obesity epidemic –– is an ambitious movement that was launched early February. The goal: “to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.” Mrs. Obama was armed with a "task force" by her husband, President Barack Obama, via a Memorandum on Childhood Obesity, whose mission includes the following objectives: “ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; increasing physical activity in schools and communities; providing healthier food in schools; and empowering parents with information and tools to make good choices for themselves and their families.”
[Cartoon courtesy of John Cole @ MSNBC Political Cartoonists Index]
Sounds like a noble cause, one that happens to be related to my passion and expertise. Despite Mrs. Obama's media rounds — she even appeared on FOX News and in an interview with Mike Huckabee said this is not government intervention — critics have arrived on the playground, including Glenn Beck and others. Concerns range from government’s involvement in our diet to the cost of such a large undertaking as well as which special interest groups will climb into the "obesity backpack." Erupting outside the White House is an angry mob, aka the Tea Party, protesting. Is the government trying to takeover our children's bodies? Are they going to socialize our Cheerios?
What is disturbing is that SEIU has their hands in the “obesity cookie jar." Yeah, the powerful labor organization, which received the back room special deal (Cadillac Tax exemption until 2018) in the Senate's version of the Democrats’ health care bill. The union that is led by the die-hard progressive Andy Stern, the White House's most frequent visitor who was just appointed to the deficit commission.
SEIU launched their own major ad campaign “demanding reauthorization and funding increases" in the Child Nutrition Act. In a January press release, SEIU Executive Vice President Mitch Ackerman had this to say: "A more robust expansion of school lunch, breakfast, summer feeding, child care and WIC is critical to reducing hunger, ending childhood obesity, and providing fair wages and health care for front line food service workers."
In reality, it is much safer to pack your child’s lunch, yet many parents don't have that luxury. So, first and foremost, we need to clean up the school meals, especially the cooked ones. I am sure that the school food servers are nice enough, however, most are not "poster children" for fitness, and do any of them bring to the cafeteria credentials that will help with the childhood obesity problem? Ironically, foods best for health, wellness, and fitness, even when it comes to school meals, require little preparation — like fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. How difficult is it to cut up some fresh fruit, make a tossed green salad, prepare oatmeal, steam brown rice or veggies, bake a yam, or toast a whole wheat bagel?