Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years and in 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
Because of this and many more reasons, First Lady Michelle Obama has initiated several programs to help America’s kids.
Let’s Move! is a “comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices. Providing healthier foods in our schools. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active.”
Seems fairly reasonable, right?
Well apparently this is anything but reasonable to the right-wing blogosphere, that exploded today upon the news the First Lady and Darden restaurants were working together to change kid’s menus and make food healthier at their places of business.
In just this one blog post by the Daily Caller, Mrs. Obama was called ‘the first hoe,’ ‘moooshell,’ and there were numerous references to her ‘fat ass’ as well as allegations she was trying to take away everyone’s french fries.
Then over on twitter there were numerous entries calling her various other names as well as accusing her of attempting to be the country’s food police.
Apparently attempting to help the children of this country makes conservatives angry.
Way back in 2007 I made a promise to Mrs. Obama. In a two-page spread in the Chicago Sun Times I told her that if she would support her husband running for President, we Moms would have her back.
Little did I know how exhausting that promise would be.
Our nation’s First Lady has been attacked for everything from her clothing to her bi-partisan initiatives. She has been called every name in the book and then some, and has endured some of the most ugly racial comments I have ever seen. And her attempts at getting kids to exercise and eat healthy have been no exception.
It seems that no matter if she is helping military families or children, she is the target of some of the most hateful rhetoric I have ever witnessed.
It’s time we Moms, women, and men, stepped up our defense of Mrs. Obama and her projects.
For the record (and I’ll try to be as clear as possible for the idiots in the crowd) the First Lady isn’t trying to take away your junk food. Her agreement with restaurants like Olive Garden and Red Lobster is putting more options on the kids menu, not taking them away. You can still get your child a sugar and fat laden soda and fries, but you will also have the option for something like a fruit or vegetable.
There is no mandate to get rid of things like burgers or fried chicken or Cokes, just the addition of healthy choices.
The First Lady has never said you should never have junk food, ever. She has consistently and clearly said even she loves the occasional hamburger or piece of cake…but in moderation. She lets her girls have the occasional fry and chips and cookies…but in moderation and as part of a healthy, nutrition based meal.
She is not attempting to force you to feed your kids nothing but broccoli. She is not attempting to take your favorite, fat-filled food off the local fast-food menu.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the programs yourself. This comes directly from the White House press office:
Kids’ Menus – changes starting now and to be fully implemented by July 2012
· Guarantee a fruit or vegetable will be the default side for every kids’ menu item at those restaurants offering a default side on the children’s menu: Bahama Breeze, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster.
· 1% milk will be the default beverage, provided automatically if no alternate beverage is requested. Milk will be prominently promoted on the menu and made available with free refills.
· Food illustrations on the menu will promote the healthy choices for meals and drinks.
· Healthier menu options will be more prominently displayed when possible.
· Carbonated beverages will not be displayed on children’s menus.
· Improve the nutritional content of one or more children’s menu items to provide equal or less than 600 calories, 30% of total calories from fat, 10% of total calories from saturated fat and 600 mg of sodium.
Calories/Sodium Footprint Reduction – changes to be implemented by 2016 and 2021
· By 2016, reduce calories by 10% and over a ten-year period by 20%.
· By 2016, reduce sodium by 10% and over a ten-year period by 20%.
See? There is no taking away your fries. You, as the parent, get every opportunity to do exactly as you want with your kids and can make any decision you damn well please as to what lands on their plate. Want pop? Order it. Want DOUBLE the fries for your kid? Go for it. Mrs. Obama hasn’t taken any parenting decisions out of your hands and is certainly not trying to parent for you.
Now that we’ve cleared that up…I have a few questions for you. Why in God’s name would you be against this? Why do you have issues with a program attempting to give you more menu choices for your kids and offering additional, healthy options?
Do you hate fruits and veggies? Are you a fan of childhood obesity? Do you want only junk food offered to your children?
Or do you just hate the Obamas and everything they try to do, good or bad? Or is it even worse than that…do you hate a smart, beautiful, strong black woman telling you how you can help raise healthy children?
I look forward to your answers, because right now all I see is ignorance, hate, and sheer contempt for a woman who is rocking her role as First Lady…and you had better believe I still have her back.