Today Michelle Obama Launches “Let’s Move” Childhood Obesity Eradication Campaign

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama will formally announce a campaign to end childhood obesity. In one generation. This lofty goal is very much in need, as over one third of American children are overweight or obese. Mrs. Obama wants the program to focus on nutrition education for parents and kids, more exercise, and improved school lunches.

As we recently wrote, this campaign has slim chances of success. The reason is simple – it is far more profitable for America to “fix” obesity related ailments than to prevent them. The industries that stand to lose if obesity goes away are fast food establishments, junk food manufacturers, beverage manufacturers, health care, weight loss, and supplements.

Additionally, the underlying incentive system that has made junk food so cheap needs to be revamped. But the farm subsidies for corn, soy, and wheat will not be disappearing anytime soon. That’s because the USDA holds two ends of the stick – taking care of big Agriculture corporations while at the same time taking care of little kids. Who do you think pays better?

Sorry for the pessimism, and we hope to be proven wrong. But this initiative is like a tooth whitening service when a root canal is due.

What to do at the supermarket:

There is good news for individuals who want to change things for their family. Actually, with a few small changes, you can start improving your children’s diets. The clearest cut, though not always easiest, is the switch to drinking water instead of sugary drinks. In case you’re wondering, juice is a sugary drink.

Read nutrition labels and note the serving sizes. Many times the actual serving size is much larger than the one written on the box. This will help you calculate the real number of calories you and your kids will consume.

And offer more fruits and vegetables to your children. As Michelle Obama says “Sneak a few grapes in for breakfast, pack an apple for lunch, and make sure that they actually ate it.”

New! Choose a better breakfast with CerealScan™ by Fooducate

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  • Aunt Lee

    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.

  • Claude Mondiere

    Making American people eating healthy is the real healthcare reform.
    The one that will allow to work on real diseases as leucemia to just cite one…still without cause or treatment
    Starting with kids is the smart move.

  •;rotocop Melanie Warner

    I love your blog. But the prediction of total failure does seem a bit to pessimistic. The Sommerville, MA example shows there can be progress from small changes. But I agree that tackling the farm system monster should be part of any meaningful attempt to curb obesity.

    • Editorial Staff

      @Melanie, there will always be examples of success here and there. But these will be despite, not due to, large market forces. Sorry to be so pessimistic, and I hope Mrs. Obama will prove me wrong. But Do you really think Coca Cola is going to give up selling liquid calories to kids?

  • TwinToddlersDad

    I agree with your assessment. Here are my thoughts and reasons why I think this initiative is destined to disappoint.

  • Simon

    I understand and agree about the fast food establishments and what they stand to lose. It goes back to the parents and making the right choices for their children. I think that Mrs. Obama’s plan will work if parents and Schools get on board. The problem with schools is that students do not want to eat in the cafeteria because it looks bad.. Check out this site to see how schools can create exciting areas to entice students to eat healthy –

    I think that if all school Cafeteria looked like these, more students will be eating better.