When Michelle Obama kicked off her “Let’s Move” campaign to address the nation’s obesity epidemic among children, many people praised her for her dedication.
In her narrative as to why she wanted to use her platform as First Lady to start the campaign, Michelle explained that she was a lot like other working mothers—by the end of the day, she was often too tired to make dinner and instead took the easy road by ordering takeout or went to the drive-through.
But after an eye-opening visit to the pediatrician, who expressed their concern about Sasha and Malia’s weight fluctuation, Michelle decided it was time for a lifestyle change. Now, she wants the rest of the country to come along for the [bike] ride.
While Michelle is busy campaigning to get more healthy food in public schools and planting vegetable gardens on the White House lawn, Domino’s Pizza, which has been suffering from poor sales and an even poorer reputation as the worst tasting pizza ever, has allegedly gotten assistance from another government-funded campaign called Diary Management. The campaign is helping the struggling pizza chain to create a healthier yet cheesier pizza—40 percent cheesier.
Diary Management is also helping Domino’s fund a $12 million dollar marketing campaign for its new healthy pizza, which in fact is loaded with 12 grams of saturated fat—almost one-third of our daily allotment. Domino’s is reeling in the profits despite the fact that too much saturated fat has been linked to heart disease.
According to The NY Times, Dairy Management is the creation of both the dairy industry and the U.S. department of Agriculture. Of course, the USDA, coincidentally, funds the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, another federal anti-obesity campaign, which like Michelle’s campaign, is focused on curbing America’s fatty foods addiction.
Talk about your conflicting messages, right? One arm of the government is concerned about the direction of the American diet, while the other is financially assisting food makers by peddling the same junk they are warning us about. I love cheese just as much as the next person, but I do understand that it must be enjoyed in moderation. And by moderation, I don’t mean 40 percent more.
Obesity is said to costs the country a staggering $147 billion a year in weight-related medical bills. The price of healthy food like fruits and vegetables has increased over the past 30 years.
Though elected officials across the country have been passing legislation to increase “sin” taxes on savory junk food in the hopes of discouraging bad consumption habits among its constituents, they are clearly not challenging their own, who underhandedly, continues to push the national health crisis.
Even Michelle’s heartfelt – and heart healthy – campaign fails in all of its rhetoric to acknowledge the government’s contradictory talk, which means that her fight to curb childhood obesity will be as ineffective as using a fly swatter to kill an elephant.
If our government is not willing to make healthier food more affordable and end these subsidizes on the very foods that are bad for us, than the government should not be in the business of telling Americans how to manage their weight and maintain their health.
As Marie Antoinette said, if the American people want to and the government is not going to seriously do anything about it, then “Let them eat cake.” Just stop telling me how bad the cake is for me.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.