Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Michele Obama will launch nationwide initiative today

Michele Obama will launch a national campaign against childhood obesity today.  I, for one, think this is a good thing.  I was interested to read that the effort, pegged "Let's Move", will focus on "four key pillars": Educating parents about nutrition and exercise, improving the quality of food in schools, making healthy foods more affordable and accessible for families and an increased focus on physical education.  Whether you agree on the extent to which she has used her own children in as an example or not, you have to admit that this is a good thing.  Our kids are growing up eating crap, watching TV that reprograms their minds to eat crap, and they are also getting outside to play far less often than they did while you and I were growing up.  Drive down any street, anywhere in the country, and the number and variety of fast food joints, where half of the food options contain more fat and calories than most of us need in an entire day, is overwhelming.  I'm not a "Big Government" fan but I do think that convenience and crap has become the norm and it will be interesting to see what impact this initiative will have.

 I couldn't help but laugh when reading the following excerpt from ABCnews.com:
To help parents, the first lady said she's working with the Food and Drug Administration and major food manufacturers and retailers to make it easier for parents to identify healthier foods by placing nutrition labeling on the front of the package.

Did we not have that earlier last year with the Smart Choices Campaign, in which Froot Loops donned the fabulously attractive and trendy green Smart Choices check mark?  I wrote several fiery posts here and on momactive.com blasting the program and the greedy scoundrels behind it.  If you missed it you can read about it right HERE and HERE.  The quacks behind this ridiculous marketing effort have since stopped labeling foods with the Smart Choices check mark because the guidelines were so laughable that the FDA announced that it was looking into the "scientific criteria" used to designate foods that manufacturers who participated (read PAID) to take part in the labeling program.  The uproar surrounding the whole thing created a massive PR disaster for all involved and served as a lesson putting the big corporations on notice that consumers aren't as stupid as they'd like to think we are.  I would love to hear what Michele Obama thought about Smart Choices.

What Michele Obama is trying to do isn't exactly new.  We all grew up with the Kennedy era President's Council on Physical Fitness (which was actually just a renaming of the President's Council on Youth Fitness started by Eisenhowerin 1956).  Remember the test?  The one where you have to try to touch your toes and where they measure your arm fat with the calipers?  I remember very clearly that I outran every boy in my class but I didn't like the arm fat thing...  In any case, "Let's Move" is similar to past government efforts, but perhaps the effort to increase nutritional education and improve the availability and cost of healthier foods will achieve a reduction in our country's obesity rates.  Those of you that watch my show on MomTv will remember our discussion last week about a study that showed people responded more positively, and as a result purchased a greater amount of healthier foods more often, when given access to a reduction in the cost of healthy food choices in addition to nutrition education, versus those who only received the nutritional information. 

So, what do you think?  Will "Lets Move" make a difference?


5 Responses to "Michele Obama will launch nationwide initiative today"
  1. Balance said...
    February 9, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    How can the schools and pundits, (Republicans) be against this? I also wonder how clearly this issue IS healthcare Reform. It's about wellness and it starts with education and kids. Feed them Junk and give them pills seems more costly to me then just teaching them to be well, mind and body, why do we have soda machines and funds being raised in schools selling Kit Kat bars, are you kidding me? This is a no brainier.

  2. Anonymous said...
    February 9, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    It just kind of boggles my mind how parents cant know what is healthy or not. Then again, I was raised in a health conscious family where my only indulgences were lucky charms on occasion, whatever I could snag at my friends houses, or heading up to snowboarding and eating a 4-pack of Krispy Kreme (in part for the sugar high). I was also let lose to play in the dirt rather than watch TV.

    Healthy food is always my first choice, but dropping half your paycheck at whole foods nowadays just isn't financially viable for most people. Places like Trader Joe's or other smaller Co-ops are a god send. And the occasional splurge at whole foods is always nice to get the "fancy" healthy stuff. But to most people it's just not affordable.

    I think if parents instill the values of healthy nutrition and activity in their children while growing up (instead of the 'We'll worry about it when they're older, let them eat it while they can' mentality) it will have long lasting effects.

  3. Banteringblonde said...
    February 9, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    I totally agree ... we don't ever eat sugar cereals in our house. My kids could pick out the foods that were best for them in a line-up but that isn't to say they wouldn't like a treat - but when we do indulge it is just that a "treat"

  4. If not a mother... said...
    February 9, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    While I do want Americans focused on healthy living, I worry about the message sent about weight is going to be - how it will impact young children, especially girls going through puberty.

    This is an excellent piece about separating the weight issue from the healthy eating/exercise issue.


  5. Mama Bird said...
    February 9, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    I'm all for tackling this problem, but I'm interested in seeing how the cost of healthy foods is going to be "lowered"? Seems to me that if that were possible, it would already be so. My guess is that part of the plan is to actually "raise" the cost of convenience foods with a "fat tax," as a disincentive as is the cigarette tax. If this is the case, I'm not a fan. While I wish people would eat healthier, I don't believe it's up to the government to force them to. Encourage yes, coerce no.


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