MARCH 24, 2014
The Obama administration keeps pouring huge sums of taxpayer money into the First Lady’s beloved child obesity campaign, this month allocating $10.5 million for the initiative which is part of a broader—and costly—law to revolutionize the inner-city diet.
It’s all part of an Obama family goal of eradicating obesity among children (as well as adults) in poor and minority neighborhoods and the administration has committed an astounding $4.5 billion to accomplish it. Most of the money has flowed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency largely responsible for executing the First Lady’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Since Congress passed the measure, the government has doled out tens of millions of dollars to a number of dubious projects.
Among them is a $25 million initiative to tackle child obesity in “hard-to-reach, limited English proficiency and minority communities” and $2 million to monitor what minority public school children eat for lunch in one Texas district. Late last year the administration awarded $11 million so public schools can buy kitchen equipment to prepare healthier meals for low-income students and a $1.2 million grant to help middle school students create fitness video games known as “exergames.” American taxpayers even financed the nation’s first-ever obesity map to support the president’s ongoing effort to single out health disparities between ethnic minorities and Caucasians.
And, of course, there’s the First Lady’s scandal-plagued “Let’s Move” initiative that strives to ensure that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. In November Judicial Watch obtained government documents that show a marketing firm with close ties to the president got a plum no-bid contract of $100,000 to design the “Let’s Move” logo for Michelle Obama’s campaign. The arrangement violates federal contracting rules and is even acknowledged by federal officials as an “unauthorized commitment,” the records obtained by JW show.
As if all this weren’t bad enough, the USDA just doled out a chunk of change to conquer more childhood obesity in low-income communities. The first chunk, $5 million, is funding university research that will supposedly create childhood prevention programs. This includes $4,887,083 to a public university in Tennessee to devise a social marketing intervention to increase fruit and vegetable intake and prevent childhood obesity and $149,988 to develop a “kids-only” retail coupon study to promote healthy snack options among adolescents in convenience stores.
“USDA is at the forefront of the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat childhood obesity, which poses a threat to the health and future productivity of our entire nation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These grants fund critical research that will help USDA and our partners implement effective strategies to support America’s next generation so they can have a healthy childhood and develop healthy habits for life.”
On the same day, the USDA dedicated $5.5 million to provide public schools with healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy. This is part of a program called “Smarter Lunchroom Strategies” that is supposed to increase consumption of healthier foods and decrease plate waste. “Strategies like Smarter Lunchrooms give schools simple, actionable, low-cost steps that help make sure that the healthy food on kids’ plates ends up in their stomachs,” Vilsack said. “These grants are part of USDA’s ongoing commitment to give states and schools the additional resources and flexibility they need as they help make the healthy choice, the easy choice for America’s young people.”
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