I take my hat off to the First Lady for her efforts to help our children live healthier lives. When Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move!” campaign in 2010 she set out to have food manufacturing “rethink the products..(they’re)…offering”. To a conference of the Grocery Manufacturers Association she said that making changes with parents and schools wasn’t going to be successful unless the advertising stops targeting children with images of sugary, fatty food. Well, that went over like a ton of bricks! Seems the food and beverage groups which spent $83 million lobbying during the last three years of the Busch administration have upped their spending to $175 million since Obama took office*****.
The April 2012 Special Report: How Washington went soft on childhood obesity reminds us that the side with the biggest bucks wins! No matter that the campaign to make our kids healthy is the passion of the First Lady. I believe this puts Michelle Obama in the same category as Jamie Oliver. Both trying to bring awareness and a revolution to the health and welfare of our children — both were shot down.
Oliver, during his second season of Food Revolution was pulled from ABC during the May Sweeps in 2011. Although ABC says they’re still behind the series viewership just wasn’t where it should have been. The fact that fewer people watched during the second season tells me that at a grass-roots level people weren’t interested in making the changes for their health — nor for their children’s health. Why is it people cannot see a reason to change? The emphasis is fitness and health, not looks as some of the critics of “Let’s Move!” suggest. People are dying folks! Children are affected with both physical and mental issues from excess weight. Add to that the emotional struggles and ridicule an overweight child faces at the hands of their peers we have a serious problem.
To her credit Michelle Obama hasn’t stopped her campaign, although it’s more watered down than when she started. Her office never responded to the special report on Washington going soft, but I can imagine she was disappointed. As a mother she understands the importance of her children eating healthy foods and exercising.
So now, three years after it started, the “Let’s Move!” program is a mere shadow of its former self. The ball is back in our court. Personal fitness and exercise is what the campaign now teaches — with no more scrutiny of the food industry. We’re in this alone folks. Stick together and look for healthy food choices. Join the Obamas and Olivers of the world and be an advocate for good nutrition and fitness.
To the First Lady I’d like to say, “Thanks for trying!”
***** These figures are based on The Reuters analysis of records from the Federal Election Commission, the Secretary of the Senate and the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.