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Politics, culture, and American life — from the family perspective.

Michelle Obama and Her Food Guidelines


I saw this headline on Fox News: Feds Want Parents to Serve Healthy Food at Home. And contrary to what some might think, I said to myself, “finally.” It’s about time this administration put the blame of childhood obesity where’s it’s due: the parents.

Here’s an old AP story about how kids actually gain more weight in the summer — away from Michelle’s crappy school lunches:

INDIANAPOLIS — The nation’s schools, under fire for unhealthy school lunches, well-stocked vending machines and phys ed cuts, may actually do a better job than parents in keeping children fit and trim. A study found that 5- and 6-year-olds gained more weight over the summer than during the school year, casting doubt on the assumption that kids are more active during summer vacation.

The findings don’t reveal what’s behind the out-of-school weight gain, but the researchers speculate it’s because the summer months lack the structure of the school year with all its activities and daily comings and goings.

Doug Downey, an Ohio State University sociologist who co-authored the study, said that for many youngsters, the lazy days of summer may offer plenty of free time to eat snacks and lounge about watching TV or playing video games.

He said the study seems to point to the need for parents to be more involved, as well as raising the idea of a longer school year and more after-school programs to keep children active.

Let’s highlight that last line: “the need for parents to be more involved.” Well, duh.

Liberals can argue all they want that there’s a role for government to play in helping parents make better food choices for their children, but that doesn’t mean parents will actually change their behavior. For example, from the Fox News piece above, the USDA is begging parents to follow the menus from school:


“We know that many parents are already making changes at home to help the whole family eat healthier,” the USDA wrote on their official blog. “We recommend reviewing school menus with kids at home and working to incorporate foods that are being served at school into family meals as much as possible.”

Under the new guidelines, school districts must serve more whole grains, daily portions of fruits and vegetables, less sugar and salt and only low-fat or non-fat milk. But the lunches must also meet caloric restrictions. And under the government guidelines, a high school student is not allowed to  have more than 850 calories.

“Adapting to the changes may be challenging at first, as students are introduced to new flavors and foods in the cafeteria,” the USDA wrote. “But as you can see there are many ways to make the transition easier.”

The USDA is still tiptoeing around the truth here. What’s wrong with just saying, “your kid is overweight and it’s your fault as a parent?”


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