Saturday, February 06, 2010

First Lady criticized for discussing her children’s weight in public

Bloggers and talkers left and right (Glenn Beck mentioned it, and he seems overly concerned about his own weight, IMO) are saying she did a bad thing, using her own children as an example of poor eating. Well, I don’t think it was any worse than complaining to blue collar workers in Ohio (during the campaign) about paying back her college loans and the cost of her kids’ piano lessons. That was a 21st century "let them eat cake" speech.
    "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.
What is important about childhood obesity is ignored in this story.

  • 1) No one knows what the “right” BMI is for children--those studies haven‘t been done. It's age, it's ethnicity, it's genes, it's gender, it's growth spurts. I was almost my adult height and weight by the end of 7th grade. One girl in the class got her growth spurt after high school graduation. At our 20th reunion I didn't recognize "Pee Wee" because he was over 6' and quite filled out. If Obama's pediatrician mentioned BMI, then it was observational, not research;

  • 2) studies don't show any change in obesity (except upward) with government intervention--and believe me it has been tried many times with the CDC and foundations throwing billions at it, and not just our country;

  • 3) it‘s frequent dieting that seems to be dangerous;

  • 4) older people who carry extra weight live longer than thin people with terrific fitness scores or obese people;

  • 5) studies do show that low-fat diets for children are bad for brain development, especially in infancy.

    CDC in 2004 announced that obesity was the nation’s number two killer (cigarettes were #1) causing 400,000 deaths a year. It's own data can't find an association between BMI and cancer. But oops. Their own data indicated the true average is 112,000 per year. But never you mind--it’s a fabulous draw for tax money.

    Here’s some cost figures for “fighting” obesity from the 2010 budget as broken out by program at even though there is no evidence these programs and partnerships work, prevent disease, or reduce mortality.
      ● The budget for obesity programs under the Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity department totals $44.4 million; which includes “developing innovative partnerships,” such as with the Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership and with the Produce for Better Health Foundation (where the CDC co-chairs the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance). PBH was honored at the Weight of Nation conference, by the way, with an award for its work “advancing policies and environmental strategies to prevent and control obesity.”

      ● The $62.47 million budget for REACH, which targets minority communities for intervention, is part of its Healthy Communities Program which, it says, is an integral part of CDC’s response to the epidemics of obesity and chronic disease.”

      ● $7.3 million is for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

      ● $12.3 million for Genomics is described as “opportunities for public health and preventive medicine, which support the President‘s Healthier U.S. Initiative and the Secretary‘s Personalized Health Care Initiative.”

      ● $65.99 million is budgeted for diabetes surveillance, prevention and education (such as its Diabetes Primary Prevention Initiative which is “focused on approaches that identify people with pre-diabetes... to adapt lifestyle behaviors aimed at reducing modiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes” – i.e. obesity).

      ● $341 million is for cancer prevention and control programs, such as WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation, which targets low-income women “to improve diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors to prevent, delay, and control cardiovascular and other chronic diseases”) and NCCCP (National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, which “provide a blueprint to encourage healthy lifestyles, promote recommended cancer screening guidelines and tests,…[and] education programs about cancers or their associated risk factors”).

      ● The $62.78 million budget for School Health is focused on physical activity, nutrition and tobacco use prevention and other priority health risk behaviors, most notably obesity and type 2 diabetes (which it says “has become increasingly prevalent among children and adolescents as rates of overweight and obesity rise”) and funds 22 state agencies “to focus on reducing chronic disease risk factors such as tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity” and funds 29 NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to “promote healthy behaviors for the nation’s youth.”

      ● $22.8 million is for its Healthy Communities program for “community leaders and public health professionals to equip these entities to effectively confront the urgent realities of the growing national crisis in obesity and other chronic diseases in their communities.”

      Go to her page and check the links. The scientific evidence she writes, "often from CDC statistics itself, fails to support any of these programs. That’s why it’s never been more important for us to remember those fallacies of logic and to think and look deeper than the headlines."
    This is my favorite "anti-anti-fast food" photo. Peasant women in a Romanian village which doesn't have running water let alone processed food or a McDonald's!

    All this talk about food has made me hungry. Time out for Ritz and cheese. Also, did you know that Gerberding, Bush's head of the CDC, is now head of vaccines for Merck? What do you bet they'll develop a vaccine to fight obesity. She certainly laid the ground work during her years at CDC.

    Anonymous said...

    you're just death on overweight... until the first lady brings it up...

    Norma said...

    No, I think she was given the wrong information by her pediatrician. There is no "correct" BMI for growing children.

    Anonymous said...

    I am sick of listening to diet advise.Period! Oh,they can't even brush their teeth right.

    Anonymous said...

    Media need to leave president's children alone; when the parents bring them up they become a target.

    Anonymous said...

    Amazing innit what people read into blogs.