First lady: Let’s work together to reverse childhood obesity
December 29th, 2010
09:06 AM ET

First lady: Let’s work together to reverse childhood obesity

Editor’s note: This week, The Chart is taking a closer look at the most important health stories of 2010. One was the growing problem of childhood obesity – something that first lady Michelle Obama is trying to fight with her “Let’s Move!” initiative.

By Michelle Obama
Special to CNN

Since my husband first took office, one of my primary missions - one that I care deeply about as both a first lady and a mom - has been to confront the challenge of childhood obesity so that all our children can lead healthy lives right from the beginning.

Today, one in three American children is either overweight or obese. Doctors are now starting to see conditions like hypertension and type 2 diabetes in children that they used to only see in adults –- conditions that cost our country billions of dollars a year to treat. And today, too many of our children are actually on track to lead shorter lives than their parents.

None of us wants this kind of future for our kids or for our country. Here in America, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children, and our hopes for their future should drive every decision we make.

That’s why, nearly a year ago, we started Let’s Move! - a nationwide campaign with a single, ambitious goal: to reverse our epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation, so that kids born today can grow up at a healthy weight. And we’re working with leaders from every sector of our society - educators, medical professionals, mayors and governors, business and faith leaders, and others - to fulfill that goal.

In just the first year of Let’s Move!, food industry leaders have pledged to reduce calories in the foods they offer. The American Academy of Pediatrics has committed to screening children for obesity at every well child visit. Professional athletes from the NFL, Major League Baseball and other professional leagues have signed on to serve as role models and encourage kids to stay active. Through our Chefs Move to Schools program, more than 2,000 professional chefs have signed up to help local schools prepare healthier meals. Parents and kids all across the country have visited our website - Letsmove.gov - for tips on staying active, preparing healthy, affordable meals and more.

And earlier this month, Congress passed the bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a historic piece of legislation that will ensure our kids get the basic nutrition they need to learn, grow, and succeed in school and in life.

This act gives an additional 115,000 children access to school meal programs, and it cuts red tape so that it’s easier for families to sign up. It reimburses schools an additional 6 cents per meal –- the first real increase in over 30 years –- so they can offer healthier, more nutritious meals for their students. It connects schools with local farmers, making it easier for them to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students and boosting the local economy as well.

And because we know that ultimately, ensuring that kids eat right and stay active is the responsibility of parents - not government - this legislation empowers parents by providing them with new information about what’s in the meals their kids are eating at school each day.

I meet so many parents who are doing everything they can to keep their kids healthy. They’re trying to cut down on desserts. They’re trying to serve more fruits and vegetables. They’re trying to teach their kids good habits that will last a lifetime.

But when our kids spend so much of their time each day in school, it’s clear that we as a nation have a responsibility to meet as well. Parents have a right to expect that their efforts at home won’t be undone each day in the school cafeteria or the vending machine in the hallway. And they have a right to expect that their kids will be served fresh, healthy food that meets high nutritional standards.

That’s why this legislation is so important. And that’s what Let’s Move! will continue to focus on in the coming year: supporting parents as they work to keep their kids healthy, and working together to give all our children the bright futures they deserve.

soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. razzlea

    awesome initiative! http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    December 29, 2010 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CraigW

      She would have better luck fighting stupid lazy parents who don't say "No" to their children enough.

      December 30, 2010 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
    • Heathen

      Great initiative, but who is moving to make healthy food more affordable and accessible? Especially for the unemployed or underemployed, the pack of ramen with high calories and salt and next to no nutrition emerges as the grocery-cart winner. Not all obese children come of lazy parents with no control. A little supermarket price parity will go a long way.

      December 30, 2010 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Slim

    As long as it cuts health care costs as a whole in the future, I'm all for it.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TRUTH

      I think what the First Lady is doing is great! It is great for the country. America can do better and we will. Now let's see all the negative comments start rolling in as if we're not the most overweight country on earth....in 5, 4, 3, 2 , ..

      December 29, 2010 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
    • One Nation

      Amen to that! Can we finally get a national focus on getting our kids better food, more exercise, and more brain stimulating play? My goodness, if we cannot even agree on taking care of the health of our kids, especially during their time at school, how can we ever expect a bright future for this country? Please let us just agree on more exercise, healthy foods for our kids. We don't have to blindly go along with the ads on TV that tell us that more sugary drinks, oily foods, and nutrition lacking produces make us more like super-stars!

      January 7, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse |
  3. abbyful

    Americans in general need to learn to eat better. But it's not soley the fault of the citizens, it's also that the government's recommendations are based more on business and politics than on health. I know coorelaton doesn't equal causation, but the time the food pyramid was introduce and heavily pushing a high-carb low fat diet, obesity and all sorts of other health problems have been on the rise.

    The biggest layer of the food pyramid should be vegetables, not grain. This should be the entire bottom half.
    Then fish and lean meats (wild game or pastured livestock). And dairy if one wants it.
    Grains should be at the top in the smallest portion.
    Sugary food should be outside the pyramid in a little bubble.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      And obviously veg*ns could modify this and use alternative proteins such as lentils, fermented (not unfermented!) soy products, almond milk, etc.

      December 29, 2010 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
  4. Dizzyd

    The focus should not be on weight loss and dieting, it should be on good eating habits and enjoyable movement. When you focus on dieting and thinness, you teach kids body shame and hatred towards people who are a different size or shape than you. Shame is never a good motivator. Fat hatred is the last acceptable discrimination and it should not be allowed simply because it is socially acceptable. Eating disorders are at an alarming high for kids. Tell me, is that healthy for our kids? To do anything, no matter how dangerous, to get thin, just because it's socially acceptable?

    December 29, 2010 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      There's a delicate balance. I'm rather thin, I don't diet, it's just my genetics, my entire family is thin. But I hear so much about "skinny women aren't real women", "skinny girls are all anorexic", etc. Thin people do get discriminated against too.

      I find myself not taking part in conversations with people because of the fact I don't have a weight problem. For example, I'm really not in shape, I may be thin, but I need to exercise more. If a group of my friends or coworkers are talking about exercise and I mention I need to sign up for a class or something, I get comments like "you don't need to work out!" or "you're already thin, don't lose any weight!", it's all about weight to most people. Yes, I'm thin, but I need to be FIT as well, there's a difference.

      Sometimes I've even been self-concious ordering a salad at a restaurant. There are the occasional people you notice that glare at you if you're thin and order something that sounds even remotely healthy (and really, a salad is often one of the most unhealthy things on the menu once they put everything on it!).

      I agree the focus should be on health. But we also need to make sure not to encourage being overweight and make it out to be bad to be thin. The pendulum seems to have swung both ways, it needs to rest in the middle.

      December 29, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Did you read the article? It talks about reducing overall calories in school lunches (read: less processed food), working with professional chefs to create healthy school menus, and connecting schools with local sources for fresh produce. The article did not use the word "diet" anywhere.

      December 30, 2010 at 06:53 | Report abuse |
    • JeriD

      If we give our kids the fruits, vegetables, that they need and the can play at school and play and kids should you will not have to worry about how they look. Lets agree to give our kids less junk food and let them play like kids should they will be more healthy well into their adulthood and not get stuck with the burdens that being over weight brings.

      January 7, 2011 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
  5. josephpate

    Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition. If you don't have insurance for you and your children search "Wise Health Insurance" online they are the best.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tammy

    Sounds like a well thought program. A better thought program would be to correct the economy in a way that would pump more income into the family unit resulting in a household that a parent could be home more and focus more on meal and snack planning than mortgage foreclosure and gas prices. School lunches have always been the same in nutrition value.. I dont remember obesity in kids being so prevalent in the 60s and 70s. Cure the real problem than there will be sucess with this.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      I disagree that school lunches have always been the same.

      I'm in my 20s, and when I was a kid and ate school lunches, chocolate milk was a once-a-month treat, now chocolate milk is served on a daily basis.

      Did you watch Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution? It was scary what they were feeding the kids. For example, something seemingly healthy like unbreaded chicken, but the ingredients took up the entire side of the box! It was full of junk: preservatives, added sugars, etc. It's even hard to find meat at the grocery store that doesn't have "up to x% solution" in it.

      School cooks actually used to COOK. Now in the vast majority of schools, they just heat up some processed junk.

      And why do kids need dessert every day at lunch? We had dessert when I was in school too, but it's completely unneccesary. Dessert should be a special treat, not an every-day occurance.

      There are other factors too, such as schools cutting out recess and P.E.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • deb

      School lunches are NOT the same as they were in the 60's and 70's. Although the govt. now requires less fat and sodium, the schools are letting the students pick other items in the lunch line. You don't like what they are having? Well then pick the pizza offered everyday. Or how about onion rings or french fries counting as a vegetable. Done with your subsidized school lunch, then go get in line at the snack bar and spend a dollar for huge cookie or a can of Pringles. I have lunch duty everyday and I see what these kids are eating. It is time parents saw what is going on at the school cafeteria. Money is being made off of the selling of low nutrient food.

      December 29, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
  7. RUSH

    What she is doing is way better than the Obamacare plan.

    December 29, 2010 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RocketJL

      What she is saying seems logical and touches on something we can agree with. However, it seems that politicians have crept in the back door this way several times. Soon it will be an attack on sugar drinks and fast food. We have already seen this information in the speeches. This is the prelude to raising taxes on something legal, but something they don't like. Remember what happen to cigarettes? They are building a case for why there are higher health costs. More and more taxes, not to go for health care, but for politicians to spend. We all need to be very careful how we support topics supported by politicians and their teams. Remember they had to back door the carbon emissions through the EPA.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      Completely disagree, what she is doing is harmful to most children. Even if the ridiculous statistic of "1 out of 3 children is overweight" is believed, there are 2 out of 3 children who are of healthy weight or underweight.

      I work hard on keeping my slightly overweight son fit and eating right. But I also do my best to stuff my underweight and very fit son. What they are doing is shutting out choices for normal kids, and not working on the source of the problem, parents who have no control over their children.

      And also people have to realize that if kids get thinner and fitter, the definition of an overweight child will change to fit the new distribution of weights. Honestly no one is looking at this problem individually, they just make believe a wholesale change by taking away normal fat food from the other 2 out of 3 children will make the 1 out of 3 children lose weight.

      December 30, 2010 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • rk

      @ rh – Even normal weight children need to eat healthfully. It isn't all about the weight. Eating healthy food makes kids feel better, think more clearly, and live longer. If you are feeding your underweight child junk to fatten him up, then you are doing him a huge disservice. Because you would be hooking his tastebuds to unhealthy ingredients, which won't serve him in the long run. Additionally, when his metabolism slows down as he gets older, he will gain weight rapidly. That's exactly what happened to my cousin. He was skinny through high school and even early college, as he tried desperately to gain weight and bulk up. But no matter what he did, he just could not hold weight. However, once he hit his late 20s/ early 30s, he has gained a substantial amount of weight (that he does not like), because he still eats unhealthfully and his metabolism no longer can burn it off as it used to. Please teach your children healthy eating habits, no matter what they weight. If he is eating a good amount of healthy food and still looks lean, just accept it as the way his body was meant to be.

      December 31, 2010 at 02:30 | Report abuse |
  8. Gary

    This will save lives, cut health costs, and benefit generations of Americans. Only Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck could find fault with this effort and view it as some kind of socialist conspiracy!

    December 29, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      I find fault with this effort because she's pushing the "food pyramid". The food pyramid isn't a healthy way to eat, it's based more on business and politics than it is on health. Many nutrition writers would agree: Michael Pollan, Nina Planck, Michael Eades, and others. The human diet should not be based around grain, it should be based around vegetables.

      It's good intention, but to really be successful long-term requires a change in what the government tells us to eat. Americans have been grossly misled to what is "healthy", we are following outdated and incorrect information. We need to throw out the current government nutrition standards and start from scratch, but that is very unlikely to happen.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:36 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      By the way, I'm not saying that's Michelle Obama's fault. I'm saying the system is broken. Michelle is doing the best she can with what she has to work with; she just needs better information to work with.

      December 29, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      So, Abby, what are your qualifications? Are you an MD? A nutritionist? A registered dietician? What do you propose as an alternative to the "food pyramid"?

      December 29, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • 4REAL

      I don't think the problem is the food pyramid...if you followed it and prepared your meals yourself in home, than you could lead a healthy life.....the problem is on the streets of America....take a look around....there are so many pizza, fast food, convienent stores on america streets and there are always line ups at drive thrus....i mean there must be a bizzillion different fast food restaurants...and you don't see even the least favorite one going out of business...tells you something...people eat crap...the food pyramid is not to blame...it is the never ending ocean of restaurants and fast food places on the streets...hell you can eat breakfast lunch and dinner at the gas station for gods sake.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      No, Abbyful is right. Grains being the base of the food pyramid is the combined result of political motivation (aka, growers of "staple" crops such as wheat, soy), prominent nutritional beliefs of the era, and the fact that grain-based carbohydrates were/are the cheapest calories available. Bread is cheap, and people have survived on just bread since time immemorial. Not thrived, but survived.

      Nutrition science has evolved considerably since then, and now common consensus among experts is that we should be eating more fruits and veggies than anything else... and when we eat carbs, they should be "good" carbs from sources such as fruit and whole grains rather than Cheerios and Wonderbread. Carbs are essential, but breads and pastas are not necessarily the best source for them.

      December 30, 2010 at 06:59 | Report abuse |
  9. Shad0wrunner

    And Sarah Palin wants to throw some meaningless argument against her that "government is taking away our freedoms because Michelle Obama wants to expand government?" Yeah, right. Sure. Whatever. There's more CLASS and POISE in Michelle Obama's right pinky finger than Sarah Palin's whole body. Sarah Palin would do better NOT to get in the First Lady's way because she's out of her league. Democrats knew better than to go after Laura Bush – clearly, Sarah Palin didn't get the memo. Keep doing what you are doing, Mrs. Obama! The fight against obesity is legitimate and waaaaay over-do! She's a crusader against bad habits!

    December 29, 2010 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Liza

      And how! Palin is just a) jealous and b) totally crazy.

      December 30, 2010 at 15:06 | Report abuse |
  10. Dizzyd

    @ gary- I am neither palin or beck but I find fault with any program that would encourage a diet mentality. I also agree that thin people shouldn't be discriminated against, either. That's my point- it's not ok to treat people like crap 'cuz of the way they look. Yes, encourage good habits, but not discrimination.

    December 29, 2010 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. abbyful

    notmyrealname, I'm simply an educated consumer. I have read dozens of books on nutrition, many from people with those qualifications (M.D.s, Ph.D.s, dieticians, etc.).

    Though some of them have different philosophies about diet, the things they pretty much unanimously agree on are:
    – ditch the processed food
    – ditch the carbs from grains
    – ditch the sweets
    – ditch the unfermented soy
    – increase the veggies
    – if you eat meat, it should be from wild game or pastured livestock

    December 29, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • notmyrealname

      So all grains are bad? Do tell. And you come to this conclusion based on whose say-so? Go ahead and cite your experts. Do you really think you're better informed than Michelle Obama? Don't you imagine she has just as many well-informed experts at her beck and call, if not more than you do?

      Geez, what an ego.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      I didn't say grains are bad, I said the amount of them we eat are bad. We eat a HUGE amount of carbs. High-carb, low-fat diets are not ideal for the human body.

      Yes, I do think I'm more informed than Michelle Obama. #1, she's a busy woman so she relies on the "experts". #2, those "experts" are just using the government's food pyramid.
      Even though she's not an elected official, she has to play the poltics game, lobbyists would be all over her if she dared step outside the government recommendations.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      You said, and I paste: – ditch the carbs from grains

      You don't even know what you posted.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      And you rely on "experts" you deem reliable, and that's supposed to be enough for us to put our faith in? Puhleeze. You aren't qualified to determine what's best for anyone else. And your so-called "experts" are simply people YOU'VE decided are credible. Who do you imagine you are, that anyone should pay you more mind than the First Lady? You're an anonymous boob on the internet. You don't have to answer to anyone. Mrs. Obama DOES.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      notmyrealname, "decrease the carbs from grains", there, is that better? I was copy/pasting and my bullet points.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I have to agree with Abby on this one. The grains here in the states are terrible. Most are GMO, and are not fit for consumption. If one choses to eat grain, make sure it is organic and sprouted. The US processes it's grains too much. A lot of people are against meat (red), but they don't realize that if it is pastured it is high in the omega 3 fats. When it is grain-fed, it is higher in the omega 6. What people don't know can hurt them!

      December 29, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      You guys are wasting waaaaay too much of your life thinking about this. Just go live your life with common sense and stop overthinking all this. I remember reading what one person said to another who was so fixated on their dietary choices and reasoning, "I'll visit you in the hospital when you're dying of nothing." When I heard that several years ago, it made me realize that all the sprouts you eat and all the red meat you cut out doesn't mean anything in the end. Something is going to get you. So just go live your freaking lives and stop obsessing over wheather or not the freerange livestock consumed grains from a field that is 100% organic.

      December 30, 2010 at 08:59 | Report abuse |
  12. notmyrealname

    Furthermore, blabby, how would you advise parents to acquire meat only from "wild game" or "pastured livestock", when they may live in poverty? And do explain what reasons you have for believing that such meat is any better for children?

    December 29, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      Eating wild/pastured meat is the IDEAL way to eat meat. Yes, it may be more expensive, and it's unfortunately that people living in poverty don't have as much access to it, but honestly they don't have as much access to food in general. So I'm not sure what you're getting at...

      December 29, 2010 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      You're not sure what I'm getting at? Then wake up and smell the coffee, buttercup. Mrs. Obama isn't pandering to the likes of you. She's trying to educate the majority of people who have children that are obese. That would be those in poverty. Wealthy families are unlikely to feed their kids poorly; they have access to healthy foods and the knowledge that good nutrition requires already. People with money can afford to eat well and healthily. Those in poverty are the ones who are raising children with health issues related to obesity.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      People should base their diet around vegetables, not grains. Carbs are cheap, so lower income people eat even more carbs than average. Encouraging carbs, even in the form of whole grains, won't fix the obesity problem, if anything, it will add to it even more the more it's promoted.

      When you overeat, what do you overeat on? Not meat. Usually not veggies. It's almost always carbs and sugar that people binge on.

      Oh, and the reason wild game or pastured livestock meat is better for people is
      #1 no hormones or antibiotics
      #2 leaner
      #3 higher in Omega-3s (most Americans' Omega-3/Omega-6 ratio is way out of balance)

      December 29, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Wild game and pastured livestock tastes better, to be perfectly frank. And fresh fish tastes better than frozen, if you can get it.

      December 30, 2010 at 07:02 | Report abuse |
    • CJJ

      abbyful i think your message is clear. notmyrealname why are you upset at what abbyful has to say. She has a valid point and your only online to get upset with comments. You don't like it, don't read it 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Michele Obama is doing a great job with herself as first lady! She's bringing attention to things that have simply been thought as "it's just the way it is" and now she's decided to bring light to the subject I commend her for all of her efforts. And now for my personal opinion. The foods that are being served in school is a great starting point for childhood obesity but don't forget that PE should not be removed from schools for any reason. Physical Education and Nutritional Education should be both taught equally to our children of the future 🙂 And please people stop saying "parents should stop buying crap to eat" b/c many parents aren't even 100% responsible for whats fed to their kids. Day cares and schools are!

      December 30, 2010 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
    • colorado

      Wild game and pastured livestock don't have all the hormones and antibiotics in their meat that feedlot animals have. They're much tastier, too!

      December 30, 2010 at 20:04 | Report abuse |
  13. notmyrealname

    I'd still like an answer as to what the problem is with the food pyramid. Abby hasn't bothered to explain why it's so bad.

    December 29, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      Here's some reading that will give you an idea:
      "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan
      "Real Food" by Nina Planck
      "Good Calories Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes
      "Protien Power" by Michael R. Eades MD and Mary Dan Eades MD
      "The Paleo Diet" by Loren Cordain PhD
      "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston Price DDS

      December 29, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      You can cite your experts, but there's no evidence their beliefs are anything but that: beliefs. None.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      notmyrealname, I guess scientific studies are not "evidence" in your mind.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      I guess you choose to follow "experts" regardless of the lack of proof they are correct. Just because it's printed in a book doesn't make it true, dear. What are you, 19?

      December 29, 2010 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      If you don't think scientific studies provide "proof" of anything, then how do you believe or conclude anything from any expert?

      December 29, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
  14. notmyrealname

    I love how self-acclaimed "experts" like Abby think they know best, yet have no credentials whatsoever. They've "read books" by "experts" with "PhDs", but have no idea if said experts are correct in their beliefs and have statistics that back up their claims. They think the food pyramid is "wrong" and proclaim that one should get no carbs from any grains whatsoever (and do tell us where else carbs are going to come from, Abby), and that people shouldn't eat meat unless it's organic or wild. What do you bet Abby is a relatively well-off, white, suburban professional who lives where such food is easily obtainable? What do you bet she can afford to spend $200 a week for her family of 3?

    December 29, 2010 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      And what creditials do YOU have? Or what research on nutrition have you even done yourself?

      So basically you think that people can't research anything for themselves? You're saying I'm wrong because I got my information from books by people with MDs and PhDs. Does Michelle Obama have an M.D.? Do the vast majority of people who feed their families every day have M.D.s?

      People should eat the best diet they can afford to. The most important thing is to eat REAL FOOD, not processed junk.
      I don't buy all organic produce, I can't afford that. I buy local organic meat because it's healthier and I know how much of a struggle it is to be a farmer/rancher (for every "rich" farmer/rancher, there are dozens of "poor" ones.) For game meat, my fiance hunts. And while I'm a meat-eater, it's not required at every meal.
      I am a white suburban professional, what's that got to do with anything? Growing up my parents didn't have much money, I grew up on a farm and my parents were both school teachers, which pays squat. But my mom always made nutritious meals even when the budget was virtually non-existant.

      December 29, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Ahahhahha! Your fiance hunts for your meat? Tell that to the mom on food stamps in North Philly.

      You grew up on a farm? So? So did I, and both of us had far better access to cheap, nutritious food than a family living in a city. Wake up buttercup. You aren't qualified to determine what's best for anyone else, and you don't have any credibility at all. YOU proclaimed yourself an authority based on your study of others' works. I never claimed I was an expert in nutrition at all.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:06 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      notmyrealname, how do you know anything about anything? You read what qualified people have written. Our entire education system, our society even, is based on that. Certain people specialize in different things.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
  15. Cole

    I'm laughing at the one blaming the food pyramid. Who the heck follows that?

    Best post was by Tammy, pointing out that school lunches have remained more or less the same. The two big chances are the availability of vending machines in school and, more importantly, the lack of physical activity (And I can't blame the former, since it does give the system more $). Cutting gym class and after school activities only add to the problem.

    Changing the food, and I recall the update menus, is the wrong approach. People, especially kids, aren't going to eat bad tasting healthy food. Thanks to my love of chocolate chip cookies and (whole) milk, I ate a whole lot worse than kids today do, but I was never overweight. Reason? I walked/biked everywhere and played (physical, not virtual). Even as an adult I eat my share of junk food and empty calories. But, I'm in great health. The 10+ hours I spend in the gym every week has a lot to do with that.

    Denying oneself tasty food isn't going to work. Forcing oneself to eat foul tasting food isn't going to work. Just like everything else in life, it's about balancing the good and the bad, and putting in the work.

    December 29, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      Who follows the food pyramid? The school lunch program.
      Where do kids eat ~20% of their meals (or ~50% if they eat both breakfast at school)? The school lunch program.

      What macronutrient do Americans eat the most of? Carbs, the largest part of the food pyramid.

      Healthy food doesn't have to taste bad.
      Junk food is okay as a treat, just not every day.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • Cole

      Kids eat whatever their parents allow them to eat. Don't like school food? Brown bag. And, no; no one follows the pyramid. In case you missed it, they're "recommendations" (that everyone ignores). The common sense here would tell you that if the schools did follow it, MEALS WOULD ALREADY BE BALANCED, following the guidelines. Notice how fats and sweets have always been on the small side of the pyramid? Yeah... Too bad school foods are typically loaded with fat and sugar. So, please... Spare me your lies.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  16. Dave Townsend

    This is a great idea. I've worked in healthcare for almost 30 years. We are seeing a big increase in Asthma, Diabetes and Hypertension in younger kids directly related to obesity. Having kids growing up less healthly will increase the strain on our healthcare system and will increase costs for everyone. This is why many Health insurers offer people incentives to join a health club and make healthy lifestyle choices. If more people are healthier, everyones insurance rates stay lower. The right wing crazies will continue to attack this because their only solution is to pretend the problem doesn't exsist. They tend to confuse that teaching people to make healthy choices is not the same the Govt telling you what you can eat.

    December 29, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply


    December 29, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • notmyrealname

      You're posting a link to an article from 2001?


      December 29, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Oh, 'scuse me. It's from 2000! And it refers to NEW GUIDELINES being published in 2005. What, are you Rip Van Winkel?

      December 29, 2010 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
    • alsonotmyrealname

      @notmyrealname... not that I disagree with you... but I must ask... were you born arrogant or do you just practice everyday?

      December 30, 2010 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
  18. notmyrealname

    Those like Blabby, who find fault with Michelle Obama's efforts to improve the eating habits of children and to eliminate childhood obesity ought to ask themselves what, exactly, THEY have done to accomplish that goal. Who do you think the public will listen to, Abby Nobody or Michelle Obama? And where do people like BLabby get the idea that Mrs. Obama is in charge of school lunch programs? Schools feed kids what the schools can afford to feed them, you dip. They don't enough funding to PAY for more; they can't afford to cook from-scratch lunches for 500-1000 kids daily using organic beef and fresh veggies. That's not Mrs. Obama's fault. If you can figure out a better alternative that's just as cost-effective, Blabby, then call the White House. I'm sure Mrs. Obama will be all ears.

    If you are such a valuable font of knowledge, why haven't the Obamas called YOU?

    December 29, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      ad hominem: Latin for "to the man." An arguer who uses ad hominems attacks the person instead of the argument. Whenever an arguer cannot defend his position with evidence, facts or reason, he or she may resort to attacking an opponent either through: labeling, straw man arguments, name calling, offensive remarks and anger.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Lame: English for the little dweeb who has no response worth noting.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  19. ART

    Good now if only our first lady could explain it to that moron Sarah Palin then maybe we would not of had to watch a blimp on dancing with the stars

    December 29, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. notmyrealname

    I'd also like to know where anyone sees the government or Mrs. Obama "forcing" Abby or anyone else to follow the guidelines. If you don't like 'em and you don't believe they're any good, then by all means, brown-bag your kids' lunches. Oh, wait. That's right-Blabby isn't married and doesn't HAVE any kids.

    December 29, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      What does my marital status or child-bearing status have to do with anything?

      FYI, I'm currently engaged and we're planning to get pregnant next year. And if school lunches are still the same as they are now, I do plan on brown-bagging lunches for my children once they are school-aged.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      What does it have to do with anything? You don't HAVE any kids; what credibility does your judgment of Mrs. Obama's efforts have? You aren't a parent; you don't and won't have to brown-bag anything for years. You're not being required to follow any guidelines at all. You simply get on here to blather about your own opinion and try to prove you know better than Mrs. Obama or anyone else. You and people like you are bores. You have to yap about your little, dangerous knowledge and brag about how much better YOU understand every issue than anyone about whom an article is written. You are the frog croaking his name to the admiring bog, except the bog isn't admiring you at all.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      So because I'm currently not a parent, I cannot be concerned about children? I cannot be concerned about what future my future children will have? I cannot be looking out for the interests for my cousins and nieces/nephews? I work at a children's hospital, I guess I shouldn't care about those kids either, because they aren't my flesh & blood? Get over yourself.

      Kids are our future. We as a society need to give them the best chance for health and sucess as we can.

      By the way, I said the only thing I find fault about this is that I think the food pyramid should be reworked without businesses involved. That's not Michelle Obama's fault, it's the fault of decades of businesses pushing the government to recommend their foodstuffs. I agree with everything else about it (better food, supporting local farmers, etc).

      December 29, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      You're not posting here out of concern for kids; you're doing it because you want to bray about your imagined expertise and knowledge, which you think is beyond Mrs. Obama's ken. Get over yourself.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      Actually, I do have deep concern for the kids. And the health of our nation in general. It's heartbreaking to see people overweight and/or in failing health. Especially kids. Not only does it make them a victim to being teased by other kids, it also sets them up for a lifetime of health problems and discrimination.

      December 29, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      Then you should be applauding Mrs. Obama's efforts to change that, because she's doing a heck of a lot more than you or most other people. Knock off the left-handed compliments; they don't do a thing but make you look like a negative nelly.

      December 29, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
  21. notmyrealname

    This act gives an additional 115,000 children access to school meal programs, and it cuts red tape so that it’s easier for families to sign up. It reimburses schools an additional 6 cents per meal –- the first real increase in over 30 years –- so they can offer healthier, more nutritious meals for their students. It connects schools with local farmers, making it easier for them to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to students and boosting the local economy as well.
    How does someone like Abby find fault with that? And what do she and other nay-sayers propose as an alternative? And how do they plan to get such legislation passed?

    December 29, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      I said the only thing I find fault about this is that I think the food pyramid should be reworked without businesses involved.

      That's not Michelle Obama's fault, it's the fault of decades of businesses pushing the government to recommend their foodstuffs. I simply want the recommendations to be based on health more than they are based on business/politics. Currently, it's the opposite.

      I agree with everything else about it (increase exercise, eat better food, supporting local farmers, etc).

      December 29, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      You have absolutely no proof that the food pyramid is some conspiracy of the food industry. None. Wanna try to regain some credibility? Good luck. You don't even stand by the pronouncements you've made.

      December 29, 2010 at 13:48 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      I didn't say it was a "conspiracy". But it IS a game of politics. It's no secret that lobbyists from various industries and special interest groups push for certain things; that's with virtually anything in government.

      I gave you resources if you wish to do some research. (It's obvious you don't.) You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

      December 29, 2010 at 14:01 | Report abuse |
  22. wainwrightOG

    why dont we as a nation fight first lady sasquatchism

    December 29, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. notmyrealname

    Where in this article does the First Lady mention anything about the food pyramid at all? Does she mention it in any of her other writings as being the end-all and be-all of nutrition?

    Abby seems to think so. I'd love to see evidence of it.

    December 29, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abbyful

      I was referring to the "Let's Move" website, which talks about the food pyramid. But don't go read the website for yourself, that may be *gasp* researching on your own.

      December 29, 2010 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
    • notmyrealname

      It MENTIONS the food pyramid, dear. It doesn't insist that anyone follow it. You're railing on about something that's entirely voluntary. It also states that the food pyramid is being revamped soon; I suppose you're certain the food industry will exert some sort of influence on the USDA about that, right?

      And there was another shooter on the grassy knoll in Dallas, too.

      You're just attempting to push others to accept your version of nutrition as opposed to that being promoted by the First Lady. If you're so sure you're an expert on the matter, dear, then why aren't you doing something in Washington? Why hasn't the First Lady managed to "see through" the problems with the food pyramid that you, in your infinite wisdom, have discerned? Is she simply not as well-versed as you are? Not as well-educated?

      Yeah, right.

      December 29, 2010 at 14:15 | Report abuse |
    • abbyful

      The 2010 food pyramid revamp had an open invitation for various doctors, dieticians, and businesses to make suggestions. I don't know if they still have the page up (and I'm not going to take time right now to look for it), but earlier this year you could read all the suggestions and what companies they were from. The soy groups were pushing for soy to be more prominent, the vegetarian groups were suggesting decreasing or removing meat and dairy from the pyramid, etc.

      Go do some research.

      December 29, 2010 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
  24. Tom

    Its not like Mrs. Obama is that in shape herself. Maybe she should concentrate on getting herself in good shape before preaching to others how to be healthy. Nice gesture for her to do but still, its kind of like a doctor who smokes telling his or her patients to quit smoking. Doesnt fly.

    December 29, 2010 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ch1008

      Are you Mrs. Obama's doctor or personal trainer?

      December 29, 2010 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
    • bookenz

      I think she looks great.

      December 29, 2010 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
    • Liza

      Ummmmm....Michele is in great shape. Are you nuts? Every woman wants her arms.

      December 30, 2010 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  25. ronjon

    I know her childhood is in the past but is it wrong that I think she has become a little chunky?

    December 29, 2010 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Jeanne

    I'm still trying to figure out how kids get fat in the first place. Mine really don't eat that much food and play all day long. They can have as much to eat as they want, and little kids just don't eat that much. Everyone wrings their hand over Happy Meals, and in my experience most kids eat about half of the food given to them. I remember not really needing that much food as a kid and I was a healthy weight. I see parents who spend meals negotiating with their kids to try and get them to eat more than what they naturally would eat on their own. That, in my opinion is a problem. My overweight nephew is told he won't get dessert if he doesn't finish his meal. My kids grandparents try to force them to eat more. Most kids, if presented with a variety of foods will self regulate if left alone.. For goodness sakes, let them stop eating if they don't want anymore!! Any turn off the TV and send them outside. Voila, kids who are not overweight.

    December 29, 2010 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bookenz

      My parents used to make me sit at the table, sometimes for hours, until I cleaned my plate. I'm 58 and have been overweight all my life, which I take responsibility for. But I do wish food hadn't been such a big issue when I was growing up.

      December 29, 2010 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
  27. sosadnews

    Unfortunately children's diets depend on the diets of their parents. How many times do you see an overweight child with parents that are not overweight? In some cases their poor diets are due to the amount of money the parents have to spend for food and fruit and vegetables are not an option. In other cases their diets are due to parents who only eat "bad food" and refuse to believe weight is an issue and for those children there is little hope that they will not be overweight. Sometimes I am appalled by the number of obese people I see in the market with their carts filled with nothing but carbs. In fact the majority of shoppers in the supermarket are all overweight.

    December 29, 2010 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. kate

    "parents doing everything they can, cutting down on desserts... fruit" yeah, I do that. Then they go to public schools and get government subsidized fried cheese sticks as their main course for lunch. Pizza constantly. If the government would quit serving our children garbage it would help!

    December 29, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Manu Hipkins

    I applaud the continued efforts the first lady and her staff are bringing forth to all parents.
    We at Well Kiddos think the effort needs to go beyond parents. Restaurants and anyone selling food to children needs to join in and support the effort. It is not enough to count calories in a meal, but one must consider the ingredients in a given meal as well.
    Food is our birth right, natural food that is. Physicians, nurses and teachers as well as parents and chefs need to read labels for the ingredient contents and ensure that our children receive chemical, hormone and gmo free foods.
    Thank Michelle Obama and the staff at “Let’s Move” for all your efforts. Thanks to your public support children’s food is on the national radar.
    Manu Hipkins, Founder, President Well Kiddos

    December 29, 2010 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
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    December 30, 2010 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. roseallen

    Companies do give out samples. They are looking to put their products in potential consumers' hands. They wouldn't do it if it didn't work one of the place that always worked is "123 Get Samples" search online

    December 30, 2010 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. george

    The first lady is exactly correct in recognizing the problem of overweight kids and what it will do to our future as a country. Every resourse is needed to help her, especially the govt INTERVENTION in making and enforcing rules to help schools and private business's and oh yes, parents too dumb to know what the salt and sugar and fat they feed their kids, are killing them. Gadflies like Palin should not be given the airways to undo what is needed.

    December 30, 2010 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Granite

    There is nothing healthier than a s'more!

    December 30, 2010 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. maggie

    The problem is that people eat to much. The body does not need all that food.

    December 30, 2010 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. AmyLynn


    She is not the problem but the FDA food chemicals ARE it has destroyed the good insulin in the human body.


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    December 30, 2010 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Great, you have beautifully presented your thoughts in this post.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. marcamp2

    seriously, really seriously....when does it end with these people...her husband wants to tell me how to take care of myself using his obamacare and his wife wants to tell me how to feed my kids...maybe she should throw herself into something really important...like spending less of our money on her vacations with her forty friends....i know this will never get printed, but when will CNN go back to being a news channel instead of a promotional for the administration...it's really disgusting...

    December 30, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Liza

    I love what Mrs. Obama is doing on childhood obesity. Let's move!

    December 30, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Central Park

      Yes indeed! We have been a slave to unhealthy foods too long and paying for it with our lives! Any help we can get to give our kids more play, exercise, healthy fruits, grains, and vegetables is not a day too soon. It is a shame that the richest country in the world is not among the countries with the healthiest kids (or adults).

      January 7, 2011 at 16:09 | Report abuse |
  39. lizardking81

    Here's a thought on how to fight childhood obesity.... parents stop buying their kids crap to eat.

    December 30, 2010 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. rh

    I still want to see the towns where 33% or more of the children are obese. It is 10% or less in our town, and in other towns in NJ.

    Are there towns in WV where 50% of the kids are obese? Where are these obese kids hiding?

    December 30, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. ezra

    OMG ROFL!!! notmyrealname and abbyful have provided minutes and minutes of entertaining bickering. notmyrealname- you are a moron.

    December 31, 2010 at 02:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. same

    Dont eat corn or corn related products. It contains concentrated amounts of Omega – 6 which directly contributes to obesity.

    The sad thing is that the food industry is feeding corn to animals that we eat, everything from chickens, pigs, goats, cows and others. Corn is not their natural food source, never was.

    Therefore, start eating grass fed meats and poultry. Has very low levels of Omega – 6 and was directly linked to actually lowering cholesterol levels, believe it or not. You can find them at local farmers market or whole foods stores. Prices are reasonable.

    Try avoiding processed food as almost all contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, again corn based substance. About 90% of any processed foods, fast foods and the like contain this ingredient which greatly contributes to obesity and eventually death. The common citizens dont know this. Its in OUR interest to let this message be heard.

    Search for "Food Inc" in Youtube to get more information about the background of the food industry and how it works.

    December 31, 2010 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Monty Fikes

    Didn't Michelle Obama and Opra star in the movie "Planet of the Apes" are at least they favor` the cast very much,,,REALY,,,,so there has to be a link between Blacks and Apes.....

    January 7, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Michelle Obama is one of the best first lady that US have. she is very down to earth. –

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    November 6, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.