On Tuesday, Michelle Obama will unveil a campaign to fight childhood obesity. She was interviewed on Good Morning America about the "Let's Move" campaign, which will aim to slap clear calorie labels on the front of beverages, and cut sugar and fat in school food among other initiatives. Will this be the long-needed push the country has needed to combat the obesity epidemic? Or is this more unwelcome interference by the federal government?
In her interview, Michelle Obama insists "there is no expert on this plan who says that the government telling people what to do actually does any good with this issue." Rather, she sees her role as merely someone "with a platform that may be able to shine a light on some of the suggestions."
- Complicated Terrain The Big Money's Dan Mitchell responds to a New York Times story about a school principal trying to keep students' snack-selling ventures open. Mitchell says the anecdote "encapsulates so well what advocates of childhood health are up against." The "laissez faire" principal
implicitly believes that it's OK for schools to teach algebra and--more to the point--health and physical education. But at the same time he believes teaching that eating garbage is bad for you should be left solely to parents. But he doesn't want to make it too easy for them, so he sells the kids all the junk food they want. Should we assume that Orange County High School's health classes avoid all discussion of nutrition?
- A Job for Parents, Not the Government At the National Review, Julie Gunlock points to the First Lady's own story deciding to manage her daughters' diets. "Considering the vast number of resources available to the Obama girls even before their move to the White House," argues Gunlock, "it's clear that nothing had a greater impact on these young ladies' health than their mother’s involvement." But this just shows, she continues, that "parental involvement, not the federal government, is the only long-term cure for childhood obesity--as Mrs. Obama has shown by her example, if not by her policy proposals."
- Get the Federal Government Out of This Mrs. Obama does seem to want to reform school lunches, to which Below the Beltway blogger Doug Mataconis responds, via Twitter: "Which portion of the Constitution gives the Federal Government authority to regulate what they serve for lunch in Scranton, PA?" He and Teresa Kopec bicker over this matter. "60% of all school lunches in this country are supplied by 4 companies so it is hardly a 'local' issue," retorts Kopec. She also poses the following question: "So basically the FDA is unconstitutional in your opinion? Companies should be able to add carcinogens in food & up to us to figure it out?" Mataconis remains firm: "The content of school lunches is not a federal concern. Period"
- Entirely Unrelated Issue Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers is all for Michelle Obama's plan, but cautions that she needs to be careful not to veer from obesity-preventing actions to anything that might promote eating disorders. "Weight alone is not an indicator of a child's health," she reminds readers.