Dec 142010

You! Yes, you. If you love your country you’ll put down the fork and step away from the plate!

That, in a nutshell, is what First Lady Michelle Obama put forward yesterday at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Northwest D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood, as the President signs into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

In general, I’m on board with the First Lady’s initiative on combating childhood obesity. Encouraging people to make better food choices and get a spot of exercise regularly is certainly in keeping with both my personal views and my religious views. Hellenic Pagans of old thought that physical education combined with reasonable portions of natural foods were vital to living a life of arete.  Athenian schools looked upon rhetoric, music, and athletics as equal in importance and I share that sentiment.

However, I’m not into fat shaming and I’m also not into declaring overweight children a threat to national security. Here is the quote from Ms. Obama:

“And from military leaders who tell us that when more than one in four young people are unqualified for military service because of their weight, childhood obesity isn’t just a public health threat, it’s not just an economic threat, it’s a national security threat as well.“  Michelle Obama – 13DEC2010
By all means increase the nutritional quality of food in the schools, as this Bill does.  (I should note, the funding increase for the school lunch program came at the expense of the food stamp program to the tune of$2.2 billion in cuts) Go ahead and ban all junk food from school grounds, that doesn’t really bother me.  Add more students to the rolls of those who receive free or reduced cost meals, I have no problem with that.
What I do have a problem with, Ms. Obama, is classifying  overweight children as threats to our national security.  Overweight children, and adults, have enough judgment thrown their way without this from our First Lady.