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Dear Mrs. Obama

October 8, 2012

Last Wednesday, Michelle Obama spoke on my campus, the University of Nevada, Reno.

Here’s the thing: I really want to like Mrs. Obama. In a lot of ways, she kind of kicks ass.

But then there’s the whole war on fat kids thing, and I don’t know how to get past that. I really don’t. Unless she’s just refusing to hear what the critics of her pet project have to say about it, she knows. She has to know the damage that can by done by setting apart fat kids and declaring that there should be no more of them. She has to know how wrong it is to glorify a standard of beauty. The woman has slender kids of her own. She has to know that they benefit from healthy food and exercise as much as any fat kid. I’m pretty sure she’s not all: “Hey, Sasha, you can eat junk food and play video games all you want. No need to worry about your health, since you’re not fat.”

It’s not okay to me that she has not refocused her campaign from childhood obesity to childhood health.

All kids benefit from eating well-rounded, nutritious meals. There isn’t something magical in the make-up of a skinny kid’s DNA that makes it healthy for them to live on deep fried Twinkies and Cheetos. Plain truth.

All kids benefit from getting outside and playing. It isn’t like skinny kids are somehow immune to the need for exercise, and so can spend their days in front of a TV without the same negative effects a fat kid suffers under the same enterprise. Crazy, I know. But true.

The ideas behind Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign aren’t bad. The problem is the focus on “solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight.” That focus puts a spotlight on the kids who many believe are actually HELPED by bullying. It leaves out the many not-fat kids who could benefit from a program that encouraged them to eat a more well-rounded diet and get more exercise. And worst of all, it boils down to a war on fat kids.

So, here’s my message to the FLOTUS:

I want to love you, Michelle Obama. I don’t want to be afraid that if I’d skipped my Spanish class and stood in line to get a ticket and listen to you speak, that I’d have been forced to listen to you talk about your war on fat kids. It wouldn’t take much for you to tweak the focus of Let’s Move! from a campaign that isolates and shames some kids, to one that supports all kids. Because, guess what: there will always be fat kids. You can’t put an end to them. People come in all shapes and sizes. But all people can be healthier in the body they were born with. All kids benefit when they have access to nutritious food. All kids benefit from moving their bodies. You can turn this around, Mrs. Obama. You have the platform to stand on and say that it’s not okay to be at war against fat kids. The question is, will you?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. The Real Cie permalink
    October 8, 2012 5:34 pm

    I completely agree with everything you said.

  2. October 8, 2012 6:48 pm

    I understand what you mean. The problem is she has been ‘fed’ the same crap that obesity automatically equals poor health and they are one in the same. Until she is able to learn it is not the same, she will continue to promote her war on obesity. How do we change the beliefs of the bad info people have learned? It will take time so dont count on her to do anything to change the way she believes. I wish I had the answer, that is the reason I wrote my book. Maybe some day she will read it. Fatology 101 Marla Richter

  3. October 9, 2012 11:16 am

    Yup, a minor shift is all it will take to make the War on Fat a Plan for Health. And I cannot respect the First Lady until she stops targeting fat kids.


  4. October 9, 2012 4:04 pm

    Sadly, misplaced concern is as harmful as out right bullying, shaming or nasty comments. Shame on you, Mrs. Obama…shame on you!

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