A massive, high-profile federal program is under way to try to end childhood obesity in a generation. At issue is whether it can be primarily a voluntary effort or whether government intrusion, controls, and politics will play major roles. The objective is noble and heart-warming. But, being government directed, citizens’ free-will will be tested. The program is led by Michelle Obama. Her task force will “review every single program and policy relating to childhood nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan that maximize federal resources” to conduct her plan, said a Chicago Sun-Times story.
Government has a lengthy history of trying to guard the public’s health, including that of children. But Michelle Obama has now linked the health of African-American children to the civil rights struggle of that earlier dark period in America.
For African-Americans “[w]e’re decades beyond slavery, we are decades beyond Jim Crow, when one of the greatest risks to our children’s future is their own health…African-American children are significantly more likely to be obese than are white children. Nearly half of African-American children will develop diabetes….” Mrs. Obama told the NAACP convention July 12.
She also told the civil rights organization “Studies have found that African-American children spend an average of nearly six hours a day watching TV—and that every extra hour of TV they watch is associated with the consumption of an additional 167 calories.”
Shortly after the close of its convention, the NAACP branded the Tea Party activists as bigots, adopting a resolution condemning alleged racism in that political movement. A Tea Party activist, Alex Poulter, disputed the charge, saying he has seen no racism in the movement. The loosely-knit organization is “upset with what’s going on with this country,” Poulter explained: over-the-top spending, debt, and bureaucratic controls.
Mrs. Obama’s address on obesity came at a time when she was attempting to change Americans’ distaste for the new health care overhaul. On July 14, Mrs. Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Vice President Biden’s wife, Jill, set out to defend the heavily criticized and unpopular Obamacare law. They met with doctors, nurses and other health workers to discuss preventive health-care coverage. The law now requires insurance plans to provide preventive care.
The White House and Democratic National Committee have been touting the new health law in the face of universal forecasts that the Democrats may lose the House of Representatives to Republicans in the November election. The trillion dollar nationalized health care is part of the Obama Administration’s spending binge, the cost of which is frightening a majority of voters.
Certainly childhood health problems are grave concerns, particularly for parents. One in three kids today is overweight or obese, puting them at risk for diabetes or high blood pressure. Many will have shorter life spans than their parents, various studies have predicted.
Michelle Obama formally announced on Feb. 9 what she called “a very ambitious” program to end childhood obesity in a single generation. “We want to eliminate this problem of childhood obesity in a generation. The extensive national campaign, called “Let’s move,” involves innumerable initiatives, including informing parents about nutrition and exercise, improving food quality in schools, making wholesome food both more affordable and more accessible, and stressing physical education.
Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move’ program includes the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. It will spend $400 million a year to bring grocery stores to ‘underserved’ areas and “offer incentives for neighborhood convenience stores to carry healthier food options,” as reported by NPR in February. It will make available federal tax credits, below-market rate loans, loan guarantees, and grants to attract private investors to take a chance on constructing new grocery stores. Also the Department of Agriculture “will partner with schools across the nation to help them meet guidelines set by the Healthier U.S. Schools Challenge Program….” It will establish “rigorous standards for schools’ food quality, participation in meal programs, physical activity, and nutrition education.” “Let’s Move” will also “help schools implement provisions of The Child Nutrition Act.” Obama’s budget calls for an increase of $1 billion annually for the next decade for “healthier” school meals.
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