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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Michelle Obama, "The Campaign for Junk Food": How About Prying the Kids Away From Their Computers?

Back more than 50 years ago, I remember how my mother added brewer's yeast to our orange juice and wheat germ to our oatmeal every morning. I liked the wheat germ; however, the orange juice with this additive was, well, viscous and repugnant. Vitamin pills? Of course.

Later in the day, I would watch with envy when other children produced Twinkies and Devil Dogs from their lunch bags. My midday meal? Usually organic peanut butter on whole wheat bread with no jelly, of course.

In the afternoon, there were the healthy ersatz candy bars, substituting carob for chocolate. They looked okay, and it was fun to remove them from their wrappers, but the taste was little better than noxious.

In the evening, there could be no dessert with sugar. We were allowed "sweets" only once a week.

Did I grow up fat? No way. On the other hand, remarkably, or perhaps not so remarkably, my classmates - who ate Twinkies and Devil Dogs - were also not overweight. You see, we were too busy riding bicycles without head protection.

In deference to my mother, I should observe that I did have fewer cavities than other children. My mother? Sadly, she died of lymphoma at the age of 67.

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Campaign for Junk Food" (, Michelle Obama begins:

"WHEN we began our Let’s Move! initiative four years ago, we set one simple but ambitious goal: to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that kids born today will grow up healthy.

To achieve this goal, we have adhered to one clear standard: what works. The initiatives we undertake are evidence-based, and we rely on the most current science. Research indicated that kids needed less sugar, salt and fat in their diets, so we revamped school lunch menus accordingly. When data showed that the lack of nearby grocery stores negatively affected people’s eating habits, we worked to get more fresh-food retailers into underserved areas. Studies on habit formation in young children drove our efforts to get healthier food and more physical activity into child care centers.

Today, we are seeing glimmers of progress. Tens of millions of kids are getting better nutrition in school; families are thinking more carefully about food they eat, cook and buy; companies are rushing to create healthier products to meet the growing demand; and the obesity rate is finally beginning to fall from its peak among our youngest children."

My goodness, it almost sounds like Michelle is bringing about heaven on earth!

Her conclusion:

"The bottom line is very simple: As parents, we always put our children’s interests first. We wake up every morning and go to bed every night worrying about their well-being and their futures. And when we make decisions about our kids’ health, we rely on doctors and experts who can give us accurate information based on sound science. Our leaders in Washington should do the same."

Those darned Republicans who control the House and might soon become a majority in the Senate! Quick, they need to be stopped! Children's lives are at stake! The latest "bogus" VA scandal be damned!

Don't get me wrong. At age 60, I try to maintain a modest level of fitness, although I am currently suffering from a pulled hamstring after running after Arnold, our 150-pound Anatolian shepherd.

And although I look longingly at bottles of marshmallow fluff when visiting the grocery store, there is no way in hell that I could ever bring myself to buy this shit spread. Instead, my wife prepares for me organic "raw food" shakes. Yummy . . .

Food supplements? As noted in a prior blog entry (, I must admit that I take a few.

But has clean, healthy living made me happier on balance? I don't know the answer.

Reduce childhood obesity? I have a different answer: Pry the kids away from their computers and see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Poor Jeffrey, your mother really served you unhealthy food - every single part of it, but particularly the combination.
    Did you ever see eggs, butter, meat, cheese, chocolate? Meow, meow.
    You really had deprived childhood and unhealthy, very unhealthy nutrition.
    Look, for example, what this young genius of nutrition writes about her similar (she imposed on herself) breakfasts and ... the consequences