As if the Obama administration didn’t have enough crises to deal with, it’s dedicating the resources of a federal agency to issue official regulations to ban potato chips, candy and soda from schools throughout the nation.
It’s an area that many Americans might agree doesn’t require government meddling but never the less the Obama administration is getting involved anyways. Under Michelle Obama’s $4.5 billion law to conquer childhood obesity in low-income neighborhoods, school lunches have already been overhauled by the government to include healthy and nutritious foods, especially in the inner city.
Now the agency charged with revolutionizing kids’ diets, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), wants to take it a huge step further by essentially banning schools from selling “junk food” such as potato chips and candy as well as soda. That’s right; bureaucrats at a federal government agency combined their creative juices to actually come up with a plan to eliminate chips and candy on campus.
Like most government agencies, the USDA doesn’t offer a condensed version of the rules but rather a torturous 160-page proposal. Here are the highlights; the agency wants schools to replace unhealthy snacks with those that are lower in fat, sugar and sodium. That means snacks with whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and protein. The agency is thoughtful enough to consider allowing variation by age group for factors such as beverage portion size and caffeine content.
Here is another considerate move by the USDA, which is responsible for developing and executing policy on farming, agriculture, forestry, and food; it will make exemptions for “treats” during special occasions such as birthday parties, holidays and other celebrations. The agency will also allow schools to continue traditions like “occasional fundraisers and bake sales.” Wow, that’s a relief!
The USDA explains in its new regulations why it’s getting so involved in children’s diets. “The link between poor diet and health problems (such as childhood obesity) is a matter of particular policy concern because the relevant health problems produce significant social costs; imposing nutrition standards on competitive foods is one way to ensure that children are provided with healthy food options throughout the school day,” the USDA writes.
This is all part of a much broader initiative to revolutionize 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 the so-called “food deserts.” It’s been the First Lady’s mission since moving into the White House and she worked hard to get Congress to pass the $4.5 billion measure that will help fund it.
Michelle Obama even got her husband to appoint the family’s Chicago chef, Sam Kass, as “Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives.” The idea is to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation, especially in the nation’s inner cities. The First Lady claims that childhood obesity is a threat to national security and a crisis equivalent to AIDS and youth violence.
The Obama Administration keeps funding questionable programs to combat obesity by bringing fresh produce to poor areas, even as health experts concede the efforts are wasted—right along with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.
Consider this south Florida newspaper article focusing on how local nonprofits are spending federal money to bring fresh produce to poor areas to combat obesity. One county alone, Miami-Dade, got nearly $15 million from the feds and a chunk of it was used to bring fresh produce to areas considered “food deserts,” or low-income neighborhoods that lack markets with fresh produce found in more affluent areas.
The allocation is part of a $370 million stimulus-funded program to fight obesity in low-income neighborhoods. It’s also part of a much larger initiative, Michelle Obama’s outrageous $4.5 billion law to revolutionize 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 low-income neighborhoods. As part of this effort the U.S. government spent $830 million to study obesity in 2011 and justify the creation of restrictive policies to control what Americans eat.
But the focus of the administration’s costly anti-obesity campaign has remained to tackle the “epidemic” in low-income neighborhoods by claiming that the poor are more likely to be obese because they have no access to healthy foods. This theory is wrong, according to experts quoted in the Florida newspaper article. “The idea of food deserts has nothing to do with obesity,” according to one researcher who authored a study that’s backed up by a series of others.
The study involved 13,000 children and found no correlation between kids’ obesity and access to fresh produce. In fact, the best predictor was the parents’ weight. This brings to mind that old cliché about the fruit not falling far from the tree. “You’re just not going to change behavior by offering more vegetables,” the expert, a highly regarded researcher, assures.
A separate study, published in 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found the same thing. It followed more than 5,000 people over 15 years and determined that greater supermarket availability had no correlation with how frequently people ate fruits and vegetables. This hasn’t stopped local officials from citing bogus statistics to obtain federal funds to combat “food deserts.” A top health official in Miami-Dade County wrote in a report that “research shows that better access to affordable, nutritious food is associated with healthier eating habits.”
Of interesting note is that the area featured in the news story isn’t even considered a food desert because it has a large, recently remodeled grocery store with a big produce department. The store, part of a major national chain, is located just 13 blocks from the taxpayer-funded farmer’s market in a crime-infested area of mostly black residents known as Liberty City.
With the First Lady as self-appointed czar, the Obama Administration is on a mission to eradicate obesity and has dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to study the phenomena and justify the creation of restrictive policies to control what Americans eat.
It’s almost as bad as global warming. Just this week, at a conference in the nation’s capital, an army of public health officials warned that the U.S. will suffer an obesity crisis if Uncle Sam doesn’t intervene. Nearly half of the adult population will be obese by 2030, they revealed at the government-sponsored powwow (Weight of the Nation) which was clearly a forum to push the administration’s agenda.
A variety of health experts made a case for public policy initiatives—coincidentally, ones pushed by Michelle Obama—as a way to slow the rate of obesity. Specifically, those aimed at preventing childhood obesity. This happens to be the First Lady’s baby. Remember, how she got Congress to pass a $4.5 billion law to conquer childhood obesity? The measure was a must, according to Obama, because it’s the government’s duty to protect poor and ethnic minority communities that are overwhelmingly obese compared to their wealthier, white counterparts.
To avoid weight gain or even try to reverse it, the government would have to go beyond banning soda and sugary foods from school or bringing healthy cuisine to the inner city, experts disclosed at the conference. Junk food would actually have to be taxed to discourage its consumption and advertising would have to be prohibited, according to the public health officials at the conference. Can you say big government?
Also featured at the convention was a cable documentary—titled Weight of the Nation like the government-sponsored event—that includes costly obesity studies bankrolled by American taxpayers. In fiscal year 2011 obesity research totaled $830 million, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency. Some of the earth-shattering revelations that have come from this expensive work appear to be common sense.
For instance, the studies have determined that “effective lifestyle changes” can be implemented in communities (presumably the poor ones that are disproportionately affected) to reduce weight, lower risk factors for heart disease and prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In other words, eat less and exercise more. Researchers have also found that exposure in the womb to maternal obesity or diabetes may increase the risk of obesity or diabetes in offspring.
“If we don’t take the obesity epidemic seriously as individuals and as a nation, we will pay a serious price,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the NIH. “It’s going to take diverse and rigorous research to understand the causes of obesity and to identify interventions that work in the real world.” Dr. Collins further assures that the results from federally funded research can “help prevent and treat obesity and its complications.”
It sure sounds like the good doctor is laying the groundwork to hit Congress up for more cash to study fat people. After all, his agency has determined that obesity is a deadly crisis in America because more than one-third of adults and nearly 17% of children are too fat and therefore racking up medical costs to the tune of $147 billion a year.
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.”
Michelle Obama’s White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity has teamed up with yet another federal agency—the Department of Health and Human Services—to launch a costly national initiative, this time targeting infants and toddlers.Young children in day care centers across the nation will eat healthy foods that include fish, fruit and salads and they will participate in 1-2 hours of exercise daily under the plan (Lets Move Child Care). The goal is to promote healthy eating and exercise habits early and prevent childhood obesity.It’s part of the First Lady’s $4.5 billion measure (The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act) to revolutionize 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 low-income neighborhoods. The Obama Administration has labeled these area’s “food deserts” and has so far dedicated tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to provide them with affordable healthy fare.The primary targets are poor and “at-risk” children who will get free nutritious meals fromU.S. taxpayers, with the government deciding what exactly constitutes healthy cuisine. Michelle Obama’s latest initiative, announced this week at a bilingual daycare center inWashington D.C., targets babies that can barely crawl.“If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if they’re not glued to a TV screen all day, they’re on their way to healthy habits for life,” Obama said during a media event at the center, called Centro Nia.Her new plan has five key elements that go from “infancy through preschool.” They include 1-2 hours of physical activity, no television for children under 2, fruits and vegetables at every meal, no sugary drinks and breastfeeding. Uncle Sam will, of course, subsidize the program, which Obama assures is a “building block for an entire generation of healthy kids.”