Thursday, February 25, 2010


So everyone in the nutrition science universe is all excited about Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' initiative. The media has highlighted the fact that the program is about nutrition facts and how American children feel about themselves - not about how many pounds a child has to lose to fit in (to jeans or to society). It is great that they are not just relaunching the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports because, let's be honest, the reach test didn't do much for kids since it started in 1956. We've all still gotten fatter. Let's Move has a nutrition and a fitness component and includes food access and responsibility aspects.

However, I just can't get behind the whole initative. Address food deserts, tell children they are responsible for the choices they make with their fork and remind them their nutrition is important and so is their activity level but there also needs to be a conversation about how the entire country eats. Our government heavily subsidizes big Ag resulting in promotion of low-fat dairy, freakishly lean (but big busted) poultry and corn. Over the last fifty years Americans have been told to eat less fat and that suggestion has made us fatter. We can tell children how to eat until we're blue in the face but until our government is willing to actually analyze how we produce and promote food, it doesn't matter what we tell our kids.

You could say, 'Well that isn't Michelle Obama's goal'. I say, 'That is crap'. Okay, yes it isn't her goal, but it should be and it could be. The Director of NIH is clearly going to take her call. Public schools employ nutritionists to manage the food consumption of millions of American children. DC is talking about changes in their school lunches. Government has it's hands in everything we do, no matter what you want to believe, bureaucracy manages what calories are available to us, what health care we have on down to the safety of brushing your teeth. Tell the kids all you want about their choices but why don't we adults think twice about the choices we've already made for them.

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