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.”
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