Michelle Obama has been praised for her commitment to reducing childhood obesity which if applied could bring more affordable health insurance. The first lady spoke about childhood obesity during her campaign encouraging the group to join her anti-obesity plan to help kids get their weight under control. However, something she said about her own daughters during her recent speech has stirred up quite a bit of controversy.
Obama bought to light the seriousness of the childhood obesity epidemic and then she took it to a personal level. She told the crowd how she and President Obama had dealt with weight concerns with their children. “We went to our pediatrician all the time,” Obama said. “I thought my kids were perfect — they are and always will be — but he [the doctor] warned that he was concerned that something was getting off balance.”
“I didn’t see the changes. And that’s also part of the problem, or part of the challenge. It’s often hard to see changes in your own kids when you’re living with them day in and day out,” she added. “But we often simply don’t realize that those kids are our kids, and our kids could be in danger of becoming obese. We always think that only happens to someone else’s kid — and I was in that position.”
Obama said the doctor suggested she first look at her daughters’ body mass index (BMI). The minor changes she subsequently made in their daily habits, Obama said, made all the difference.
Her comments have some feeling Obama went too far. Some say the first lady’s comments may be perceived as a focus on weight and dieting, which sends the wrong message to the public. Disorder activists have come forward expressing concern that her message would confuse families by encouraging them to focus on diet.
Others praised Obama’s message saying it was a good way to connect to parents with overweight or obese children who may feel singled out or alone.
There are a lot of parents who can relate to what Obama had to say. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. And childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start kids on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Health issues related to weight significantly increase the cost of health insurance for everyone.
Several health related national organizations including the Center for Disease Control are also trying to fight childhood obesity. They too encourage healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and diet, and physical activity, to lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
The first lady has said when she tucks her girls into bed at night, she thinks about wanting them to happy and healthy and to “have every chance to follow their aspirations and ambitions.”
Obama said what she wanted for her daughters she wants “for every single child in this country.”