Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to lower the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. has met much derision since it was launched. Often the criticism came from politicians, who thought encouraging kids to jump rope and asking manufacturers to quit making such unhealthy stuff for kids was somehow government encroaching on our freedom to eat Pop-Tarts.
Recently, Sarah Palin and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann attacked the First Lady for the health initiatives, the former expressing concerned about a government ban on desserts, the latter pitching a fit over making breast pumps accessible to more nursing moms.
But a couple of high-profile members of the GOP have recently come out in support of the anti-obesity initiatives — two men who, themselves, have waged a lifelong battle with their weight.
Former Arkansas Governor and probably 2012 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has backed the First Lady’s plan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has as well.
Neither are in favor of the government dictating what Americans can and cannot eat. But, interesting note, neither is Michelle Obama. Here’s what Christie has said, as reported by Ali Hale in the Diet Blog:
I don’t want the government deciding what you can and what you can’t eat… I think Mrs. Obama being out there encouraging people in a positive way to eat well and to exercise and to be healthy, I don’t have a problem with that.
Recently on Face the Nation, Christie was asked what he thinks of all the criticism. Here’s what he said [via conservative web site Human Events]:
“I think it’s unnecessary. I think it’s a really good goal to encourage kids to eat better. … And I think the First Lady is speaking out well. … I don’t want the government deciding what you can eat and what you can’t eat. I still think that’s your choice. But I think Mrs. Obama being out there encouraging people in a positive way to eat well and to exercise and to be healthy, I don’t have a problem with that.”
So while Rush Limbaugh has accused Obama’s program of dictating a loaf of tofu in every pot, two other conservative leaders are talking about “Let’s Move” for what it is: a way of putting children’s health — and the nations, really — at the forefront, of putting public resources toward a problem that could have dire consequences when the youngest generation comes of age.
While I don’t think personal changes alone can lower the rate of obesity in the U.S., I think it’s a start. And I also appreciate that the First Lady has called food companies out on what they make and sell and asked for corporate America to get on board.