RSS
Michelle Obama's war on obesity
Obama's "Let's Move" campaign addresses a real problem, but should government tell parents how to raise their kids?
 
First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama
Corbis

First Lady Michelle Obama has found her cause: ending the "epidemic" of childhood obesity in one generation. Her "Let's Move" drive attacks the problem by promoting exercise and better nutrition. (See her promo video below) Nobody really disputes that childhood obesity is a problem — one in three kids is obese or overweight — but can the government find a solution, or is that up to parents?

Obama's picking a tough fight: Childhood obesity is an expensive, deadly epidemic, says the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial, and many of Michelle Obama's ideas, such as banning junk food from school vending machines, have "real bite." But she faces a tough fight from a food industry "built around marketing unhealthy food," and its allies in Congress.
"On Michelle Obama's obesity campaign"

Get the feds out of our kitchens: This "epidemic" is best dealt with at home — as Obama herself demonstrates, says Julie Gunlock in National Review Online. When her own daughters got "off balance," weight-wise, Obama successfully adjusted their diet and exercise regime. If better parenting worked for her, why is she prescribing "more government intervention" for the rest of America?
"Federalizing fat"

This will test Obama's power of persuasion: The "arguments against government intervention are powerful," says The Syracuse Post-Standard in an editorial, and Michelle Obama's effort is doomed if parents don't set the right example. But unhealthy, fast food is cheap and tasty, so Americans need all the help they can get to kick the habit.
"Tackling obesity: First lady is on a tough but necessary mission"

Obama picked an appropriate "cause," but a lost one: We know what works — less TV, eight hours of sleep, and eating as a family, says Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic. But in many families both parents work, or dad's not around, and weight gains go unchecked in the chaos. Neither a government lecture nor a laissez-faire approach will close the "gap between what works and what people can actually do."
"The Obama obesity proposals: The good, the bad, the missing"

 

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week