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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Michelle Obama's tactics addressing Childhood Obesity: Dangerous or Necessary?

As we all know childhood Obesity is becoming an increasing and dangerously accelerating epidemic, with one in every three children suffering obesity and condemned to a future of diabetes and other various health problems.
Many of you know, but some of you may not, that our First Lady has taken up the noble fight against childhood obesity addressing issues such as: recently cut physical education programs and discontinued after school athletic programs, and the dire need to have these programs re-instated, noting that a Kaiser Family Foundation study shows that many children spend around 7 hours a day playing on or watching digital devices instead of being physically active.
In her speech at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Michelle Obama addressed not only spoke about the dire consequences and effects of these discontinued programs, but also touched upon the lack of parental ability to pay for or prepare healthy well-balanced meals. With the rise of fast-food dependence, the lack of time to make good meals, and due to limited avenues for kids to be physically active, childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years.
I feel that Michelle Obama has picked the perfect problem within our country to take up a fight against; childhood obesity. Like anyone good speech-giver trying to move people to act or effect change, Michelle went on to say that she could not only relate to being pressed for time with the taxing job of being a mom and ordering pizza on those days when she was just too tired to cook, but also that this problem has affected even her family, admitting that “A pediatrician tapped me on the shoulder and said you know you might want to consider making some changes in your families diet.”
Many would find the First Ladies admission that even she is guilty of not always being attentive to healthy living for her family as refreshing, even commendable, using herself as an example of someone who had let her family and herself “fall off the horse” so to speak, and needed to be told by another to change her ways.
However, many feel that Michelle’s admission of her daughter’s situation was inappropriate and could be extremely detrimental to the girls’ psyche, blasting the first lady for putting her daughters on a “diet”. One woman went a step further, going so far as to comment on the online website Shine, “She is putting her daughters at a higher risk for having an eating disorder.”
I found both opinions to be completely and utterly ludicrous. While I can understand people’s concerns at highlighting her daughter’s weight publically being potentially embarrassing for the girls, I feel the context in which she was making public this sensitive subject as entirely appropriate and for the greater good of Americans.
Eating disorders exist in part because of lack of dietary education. Michelle has clearly taken up this cause because her family was personally affected by it and she has not only educated herself but her daughters to the risks of an unhealthy diet. As a result of their mother’s concern and good parenting these girls probably have a much better grasp on healthy living and a secure body image than most girls, therefore being less likely to develop an eating disorder. Girls who lack this education and parental attention to their health, often develop eating disorders out of ignorance and superficial ideals implanted in them by an over-imaginative media that they need to be skinny and eating less is the way to do so. However as most of us adults know this is NOT the most effective way to lose weight.
Michelle’s admission of changing her daughters’ diets IS NOT the same as putting her daughters on a diet, there’s a huge difference and the fact that these people spoke out against one of our nation’s leaders who is trying to solve a national epidemic when they clearly don’t have a proper understanding of the various uses of the word “diet”, I find reprehensible.
As someone who watched a good friend waste away to the point of organ failure due to an eating disorder and I do not take this subject lightly. However, I still do not feel that Michelle Obama has done anything wrong. Like the Obama children, I was fortunate enough to have a mother who not only invested interest in my health and diet, but also let me know the reasons for it—to be healthy. I never once thought that when my mother denied me candy or soda that she was telling me I was fat. Just as others shouldn’t assume that because Michelle said she changed her daughters diet that she put her daughters on a “diet”. While I can understand the viewpoint of these women who may have concern for the Obama children’s feelings, I am quite confident our first lady wouldn’t exploit her children negatively for the sake of getting her voice heard, and certainly wouldn’t address this issue publically without addressing the issue with her daughters and husband first.

Written by: Christina Lo Duca


Blogger Aunt Lee said...

Get kids moving! An easy way for parents and teachers to get kids up and dancing is free online -- fun song, fun dance -- download lyrics and choreography:

It's the Zombie Workout song!

Repeat the song and dance faster and faster as a competition - last one standing is the champion zombie fighter.

February 9, 2010 at 9:53 AM  

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