Tonight Bill O’Reilly argues with me about Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, which is meant to “solve the problem of childhood obesity in a generation.”
He likes her campaign. I don’t.
If the first lady wants to spend her time and money to persuade us to eat better, fine. But I fear that she wants to spend our time and our money. In her latest speech, she talks about helping grocery stores “locate in underserved areas…getting healthier food into schools…helping our kids become more active, not just in school but at home.”
Sounds like big government to me.
For what it’s worth, here is some of the research we dug up to prepare my Michelle Obama discussion:
In his article “Egg on their Faces,” Steve Malanga points out that “Government dietary advice often proves disastrous.”
Starting in the 1970s… the American Heart Association advised people to reduce drastically their consumption of eggs as part of a goal to limit total cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day (a single egg can have 250 milligrams). The recommendation, seconded by government and other public-health groups, prompted a sharp drop in the consumption of eggs, a food that nutritionists praise as low in calories and high in nutrients. In 2000, the AHA revised its restrictions on eggs to one a day (from a onetime low of three a week)… To what purpose? A 2004 article in The Journal of Nutrition that looked at worldwide studies of egg consumption noted that the current restrictions on eating eggs are “unwarranted for the majority of people and are not supported by scientific data.”
As a recent review of the latest research in Scientific American pointed out, ever since the first set of federal guidelines appeared in 1980, Americans heard that they had to reduce their intake of saturated fat by cutting back on meat and dairy products and replacing them with carbohydrates. Americans dutifully complied. Since then, obesity has increased sharply, and the progress that the country has made against heart disease has largely come from medical breakthroughs like statin drugs, which lower cholesterol, and more effective medications to control blood pressure.
Malanga also notes that new FDA guidelines recommend a maximum of 1500 milligrams of salt daily (down from 2300). One hypertension expert observed that the government’s salt war is a giant uncontrolled experiment with the public’s health.
Here are a few more reasons why government shouldn’t tell us what to eat:
We’re living longer than ever! 80 yrs today vs. 57 yrs 80 yrs ago
A CDC study found that more people die every year from being underweight than overweight! And that moderately overweight people live longer than those at normal weight.
Government was once excited about BMI index. (body-mass index) Gov Mike Huckabee had all Arkansas kids tested! But BMI is a lousy measure of health. According to BMI: Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger are obese; GWBush and George Clooney are “overweight”
Calorie counts on menu boards don’t work: people STILL don’t take in fewer calories! A study at McDonald’s , Burger King, Wendy’s, and Kentucky Fried Chicken found that people ordered MORE calories after the labeling law went into effect.
What’s junk food? Chicago’s new candy tax defines sweets that contain flour as “food” – w/o flour as “candy.” (Hershey bar? Candy. But Kit Kats, Twix, Twizzlers –are “food”) O.j. and apple juice? More calories than Coke! (97 v 120/cup)
"Protect the children?" Children are the responsibility of their parents. When the state assumes the role of parent, it makes children of all of us.
It’s a good sign that America has food nannies – means were so rich that these are the things we’re worried about!
The food police haven’t jailed anyone yet, but who knows 20 years down the road? MeMe Roth suggests annual obesity screenings at school; serving soft drinks to only those over 18; child abuse laws for parents with obese kids; taxes on soda and sweetened drinks.
If the government is allowed to dictate our diet, what's next? Do they start deciding who we'll marry, where we'll work?
Thomas Jefferson said "A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."
Food is none of the government’s business. Their job is to protect us from foreign enemies. If they spent less time on this nonsense, maybe they’d have noticed that the 9/11 hijackers had overstayed their visas and were taking flying lessons.