Michelle Obama Takes On Childhood Obesity

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President Barack Obama announced that Michelle Obama, First Lady and mother of two First Daughters Sasha and Malia, will be taking on Childhood Obesity as her pet cause. In this MSNBC story Michelle Obama admits to a very similar story as the one I’ve told here on The Girl Revolution – the doctor says, “Hey your kids are in a risky place BMI-wise.”

I could not have been more thrilled. You know, Tribe, that I am very concerned with the negative consequences resulting from apathetically allowing obesity to consume our daughters: early puberty, higher insurance premiums, preexisting conditions like diabetes, higher risks of breast cancer, infertility, and those are just the gender-specific risks.

I recently read an article in The New Yorker about the fact that the military is having a problem finding youth who meet the physical requirements of enlisting to defend our country. It’s never happened before in the history of America.

I remind my own kids, “Did you get your hour of play today?”

From the MSNBC article, Michelle tells us how she handle the shocking news that her daughters were too high on the BMI charts,

‘Small changes, big results’
The first lady said that over the next few months she made some small changes that got her daughters back on track. No more weekday TV. More attention to portion sizes. Low-fat milk. Water bottles in the lunch boxes. Grapes on the breakfast table. Apple slices at lunch. Colorful vegetables on the dinner table. “It was really very minor stuff, but these small changes resulted in some really significant improvements, and I didn’t know it would,” Mrs. Obama said.

It’s true. Small changes do lead to big results. I know it from my own health, my kids’ health, my lifestyle changes. Small changes are easy and achievable and if you do them often enough you do get big lifestyle changes.

I am so happy children will have a champion for the very important cause of childhood obesity. There could not be a more visible champion.

There’s more to this childhood obesity epidemic than our kids are too lazy, we’re not good enough police about what goes in our kids mouths and our little people don’t get enough play and exercise though.

I just saw Food, Inc. on the Watch It Now feature on Netflix.

It really highlights facts like these: if all the animals we eat consume corn and they feed them corn to make them fatter faster . . . .does it surprise us then that we and our children are also fatter faster? Not to mention all the other products, around 80% of what’s in the grocery store, are made of . . . corn, corn syrup, and other corn sugars?

Food, Inc. does one thing well. Outline just how seriously our government is involved in what we’re eating – which flows into the rising costs in our inefficient health care system – and just how much influence a few Corporations have over our childhood obesity problem, our national obesity problem.

Happily, and the movie highlights this truth very well in the end: it is ultimately CONSUMERS (read parents who buy their kids’ foods) who decide what supermarkets carry, what farmers farm and what corporations sell.

If you’re feeling a little powerless as you fork over the extra dough for the healthier foods let me point out one tiny little trend which should raise your feelings of empowerment: When I began writing about the issue of early puberty the issue of hormones in the milk supply came up, non-hormone milk cost quite a bit more than milk from cows given growth hormones. It was worth it. Not just to me, but to enough people that Walmart – the biggest retailer in the world – doesn’t carry growth hormone milk anymore. They don’t even stock it.

We – PARENTS, CONSUMERS – stopped the practice of feeding growth hormones to milk cows by refusing to buy that milk.

That’s how capitalism works every.single.time.

Next on the chopping block – high fructose corn syrup, a product that’s probably in 80% of the food supply and that’s making us and our kids fatter faster.

Michelle said she plans to roll out her childhood obesity campaign over the next few weeks. I am sure she’ll be planting the garden in the spring too. I can’t wait!

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