A small flurry of progress on efforts to quell childhood obesity surfaced in the press this week. The news hints that Michelle Obama's campaign to make America's kids thinner, healthier and happier is in full force. The First Lady's Let's Move! initiative has been busy lately recruiting chefs to speak out about healthy eating, teaching school children fun exercise routines and advocating for new regulations to keep junk food off of kids' minds.
Earlier this year, the Michelle herself made a controversial appearance alongside Walmart executives to support the corporate giant's new healthy eating campaign. Bloggers found that stunt questionable if not downright inappropriate. But as this week's headlines reveal, strategies are getting more questionable by the minute.
Texas Launches Big Brother-style Effort to Track How Much Students Eat
The Associated Press reports today that five elementary schools in San Antonio will now photograph students lunch trays before and after lunch to find out how many calories the kids are consuming. Parents and researchers will receive information about the students for reference and research purposes, but nobody will be punished for eating unhealthy food. One in three children are obese in that part of the country.
Illinois Lawmaker Wants to Tax Parents of Obese Kids
Representing a tiny rural town in southern Illinois, state Sen. Shane Cultra suggested Tuesday that parents of obese children lose their $2,000 standard tax deduction. "In poorer families, they actually get money for their kids," explained the Republican lawmaker. "I'd take that money away." Cultra later said he regretted his choice of words but said he actually meant to criticize the tax on soft drinks.
Scary Childhood Obesity Ads Are Becoming the New Scary Smoking Ads
A series of ads launched by an advocacy group in Georgia, the state with the second highest childhood obesity rate, for being too extreme. Ron Frieson, chair of Stop Childhood Obesity, insists that it's time to inject a little bit of shock value into the conversation to get people's attention. Critics say that warning kids they're going to "die before their parents" if they keep overeating is a little overboard.
Gastric Bypass Surgery for Kids Is Definitely a Bad Idea
According to a poll conducted by an Ann Arbor, Michigan hospital, fewer than one third of parents would consider gastric bypass surgery for their children. Researchers haven't deciphered exactly why, but minority and low income parents were much more open to the idea, however.
Prolonged Bottle Feeding Leads to Fatter Children
A study out this week in The Journal of Pediatrics revealed that babies whose parents put them to sleep with bottle feeding were 33 percent more likely to be obese at five and a half years-old. Comparing learning how to walk to learning how to eat, the scientists say that comforting eating habits start at an early age.
Michelle Obama Uses Beyonce to Get Kids to Exercise
Capping off a nationwide effort to encourage exercise, the First Lady made an appearance at Alice Deal Middle School last week to participate in a the Let's Move!-branded Flash Workout. Over 600 schools participated in the happening simultaneously including Michelle who danced to "Move Your Body" by Beyoncé. Behold: