February 9, 2010

Childhood Obesity... The Good and the Stupid

Warning: This will be a serious rant. Now then...

First, the Good:

First Lady Michelle Obama is launching this initiative to combat childhood obesity - common sense things, like getting more nutritious foods in schools, getting kids to exercise more, getting important nutrition facts placed more prominently on labels, efforts to make healthier foods more affordable and accessible. Not sure how all of this will be accomplished, but it's long overdue.

What's wrong with school lunches these days, you ask? Hmmm, here is some school lunch yumsville for thought.

All of the big players in the food biz are paying lip service that they are going to help be part of the solution.

* The American Beverage Assn. has committed to putting front-of-pack calorie labels on cans, bottles, vending machines and soda-fountain machines within two years.

* Major food suppliers to school cafeterias have pledged to cut sugar, salt and fat and increase whole grains and produce.

* About 40 executives of major food producers and agribusinesses indicated in an open letter that they would join the first lady in promoting healthy eating. Among the signers: the chief executives of Kraft Foods and Sara Lee Corp.

And the prez is kicking in for the team, ordering a task force to look at federal policies that affect childhood nutrition and activity.

And here is the predictable Stupid:

This is just another example of the nanny state, mostly conservative/right wing critics are saying. Perhaps the most ill-informed critique comes from Julie Gunlock, of the Independent Women's Forum, in the National Review Online.

[Mrs. Obama] hopes to improve the “accessibility and affordability” of food for all Americans. (Apparently, Mrs. Obama is unaware that Americans pay far less for their food than citizens of other nations do, spending only 7 percent of annual income on it, according to a 2009 Department of Labor study.)

Ms. Gunlock is apparently unaware that this is the very reason Americans are so fat. Because they can get megasized fast food meals chock full o' fat and calories for $3, a case of sugary soda for the price of two gallons of juice, and a case of frozen beef patties that were bathed in ammonia for the same price as 4 or 5 apples. Americans eat tons of cheap, fattening food -- food made so cheap because of government subsidies to big agribusinesses to grow billions of acres of corn and soy, and because the government doesn't mind if factory farms shove a few thousand pigs into a bin and jam them full of antibiotics and collect their anti-biotic infested waste product in huge manure pools that then run off into streams and make people in surrounding communities sick while simultaneously causing a significant increase in antibiotic resistance in humans.

What a bargain, eh Ms. Gunlock?

As for the accessibility issue, perhaps Ms. Gunlock should try to grocery shopping in Pittsburgh's Hill District for some fresh fruits and veggies. Oh, that's right, there is no grocery store there. But there are plenty of convenience stores and fast food joints.

Oh, and then there's this statement from Ms. Gunlock's commentary, which I'll let speak for itself.

Most children are smart enough to make good decisions for themselves when given guidance and attention from their parents.


Corey said...

There's a reason Sadly, No! refers to National Review Online as "America's Shittiest Website™" (mainly the all too familiar combination of arrogance and incompetence of every single person who writes there).

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

Well, good to see that this particular author kept up the proud tradition.

marzipanmom said...

So very frustrating!