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First Lady Tackling Childhood Obesity

Posted Feb 09 2010 6:42pm

It’s no secret among those who know me in real life that I’m a liberal Democrator that I absolutely adore First Lady Michelle Obama as a career womanmotherwifeand fitness role model.

She just strikes me as authenticand authenticity has come to mean a lot to me over the past few years.

And I absolutely love her big cause right nowfighting childhood obesity, because it is an epidemic that has impacted — and will continue to impact – our countryif we don’t take collective action to mitigate it now.

I admit that it was a bit disconcerting that her thinyoung daughters were the subject of what sparked her concern on a personal levelsomething  Marsha at A Weight Lifted discusses in this blog post, “Sasha and Malia on a Diet?”

As Marsha notes,

“…Mrs. Obama’s disclosure was made in concert with the launch of a national campaign against childhood obesity.  So why she made the connection is obvious.  StillSasha and Malia are at vulnerable time in their liveswhen their bodiesespecially Malia’smay be starting to go through changes of puberty.  Those changes often mean putting on weight in advance of growthwhich doesn’t necessarily mean anything negative about their ultimate health orfor that matterbody proportions.  Furtherthese changes in size at this time of life can be important to good health.

It’s also a time when many young girls start to become more concerned about their appearancealthough with our current over-focus on size in this countrystudies show much younger girls are already concerned about their body size.  Stillat Green Mountainwe hear stories all the time about how well-intentioned but misguided advice about the need to watch weight from parents and others at this time of life can set girls up for weight struggles for the rest of their lives.”

I think Marsha raises some really good points.

The President and First Lady are great fitness and nutrition role models. Both physically fit (Michelle’s arms are constantly under scrutinybut it’s because the woman is RIPPED!)they talk about their shared love of fitness and how it makes them feel empoweredmaking them stronger and happier.

Likewisethey talk about how they eat healthy most of the timebut are humantooand have also confessed to  giving in to Five Guys hamburgers on occasionguilt-free. They seem to have a very healthybalanced approach to eating and exercise — a moderatehappy medium.

And while I whole-heartedly support broad preventative measures that I’m sure she’ll be promoting: encouraging kids to be activelimiting TV/computer timeproviding healthy lunches and snacks at schoolencouraging more parental involvementetc — I do recognize the fine line between encouraging healthy living patterns and unintentionally driving a child down an obsessivedestructive  path as they seek a “perfect” figure or get sucked in to the quest for “thindom.”

It’s a scary world out there. The First Lady is broaching an uncomfortabletouchytaboo subject that must be addressed; we can’t let another generation suffer through diabetes and heart disease and cancer and other illnesses or  conditions that are often weight-related.

Ultimatelythe more obese our children arethe more health risks they facethe more health care costs they will incur … and the cycle will continue unless we step in.

I have high hopes that with Michelle Obama at the helm of this war on obesityshe will be able to be a voice of reason among the noise. I don’t see her as a preachy figure at all — but rather a gentle encourager and a positive role model.

And I believe she will serve our country well. Mrs. Obamafor what it’s worthyou have my support!

How about you? What do you think about the war on childhood obesity and the First Lady’s role in fighting childhood obesity?


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