JULY 28, 2011
While Michelle Obama’s $4.5 billion measure to control the American diet focuses on tackling childhood obesity by replacing French fries with salad bars, doctors across the nation report a growing epidemic of “dangerously thin” kids.It makes for an astounding irony considering the First Lady got Congress to pass her much-ballyhooed law, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, to end childhood hunger in low-income neighborhoods. The campaign however, has focused more on the “healthy” part that aims to combat childhood obesity, which Michelle Obama claims is most prevalent among the poor and ethnic minorities.That’s why her initiative has been largely dedicated to revolutionizing the inner city diet by providing fresh produce and grilled lean meats as alternatives to greasy, fried foods that tend to be more popular in poor neighborhoods. The primary targets are “at-risk” children who will get free nutritious meals from U.S. taxpayers, with the government deciding what exactly constitutes healthy cuisine.A few months ago taxpayers financed a dubious $2 million project in which a high-tech device tracked what minority public school children ate for lunch in one Texas district. The idea was to calculate how many lunchtime calories poor and minority kids consumed at five elementary schools targeted by the First Lady’s childhood obesity revolution. The goal was to inspire parents to change their children’s eating habits at home.While Michelle Obama’s campaign wastes money on this sort of nonsense, doctors in hospitals across the nation report a disturbing trend of severely malnourished kids whose families have fallen on hard times. Emergency room physicians say they are seeing the highest number of hungry and dangerously thin young children in a decade. The resulting chronic hunger could leave countless infants and toddlers with serious developmental problems, according to doctors quoted in a Massachusetts newspaper report.The article focused on a major Boston hospital where physicians reveal that the number of underweight youngsters has significantly increased in the last few years with the figure expected to rise. Pediatricians at hospitals in other cities—including Baltimore and Philadelphia—also reported big increases in the number of malnourished and hungry children they have seen in the last few years.This certainly questions the priorities surrounding the multibillion-dollar law Michelle Obama’s is credited with passing. When her husband signed it in 2010 it was celebrated as a way to “raise a healthier generation of kids.” Cabinet officials assured it would allow the administration to be “much more effective and aggressive” in responding to hunger challenges for America’s kids and that it would provide them with “healthier and more nutritious food.”
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