Response Journal

This response journal is based on Michele Obama’s remarks during the “Lets move” launch. Her remarks are about how the issue of childhood obesity has escalated over years. Currently a lot of kids are obese. Michele quotes a number of reasons that have led most of the kids in America to be obese. She talks about what could be done, and what the government intends to do.

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Reading her remarks, I could not help but get an insight of how serious the issue is. I jogged my mind to reflect on the issue Americans are fighting with, and it was unbelievable. I cannot believe that while many countries are tackling political, economic and other issues, America is dealing with obesity. The issue has becoming so alarming to the point of being prioritized over other developments like study materials for kids or education investment. Michelle says: “They might ask, "How can we spend money on fruits and vegetables in our school cafeterias when many of our schools do not have enough textbooks or teachers?”.”

Her remarks make me feel sorry for the helpless kids who have been led to that situation by their parents. These are kids whose parents do not put extra efforts to prepare them a decent meal- one that contains a balanced nutritional diet. Personally I was shocked to learn that all a child needs to be healthy (fitness wise) is a mere 60 minutes of physical activity. It makes me wonder whether kids nowadays are that busy with television, video games, and their phones to the point that they cannot spare some few minutes to exercise. Michelle Obama says that in her days children were not allowed in the house until it was dinner time. Could that work in the current era? This is in consideration to the developments in technology that has led to kids sticking inside the house day and night. I do not think so. The current child, unlike the child in her era, has a lot of says in what he or she wants to do.

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I like the way the situation has been given weight by the state. It has thrown in a lot of human power, funds and resources into the initiative. What I am not sure though is whether the campaign and the overall initiative will be a success. This is because I believe people do not like to be told how to run their lives. Furthermore, the “shelve food culture” has developed over years, and it will not be easy to curb. This is a fact that Michelle acknowledges. She says: “…And we know we won't get there this year, or this Administration. We know it'll take a nationwide movement that continues long after we're gone.”

The initiative will affect a lot of players in the country. Manufacturers will have to print large labels on their products about the calories contained in them, doctors will now be giving prescriptions on child nutrition, and schools will have to revise their cafeteria menus among others. I noted that the state is determined to deal with the issue to the point that the issue will be enforced by law in some cases. For example, the Child nutrition Act will face amendments. I guess this will enforce certain meals at schools and outlaw some. A task force has also been created and mandated to review all the policies and programs that touch on child nutrition and physical activity in the country.

The whole obesity issue sounds like an unbelievable joke. It is unbelievable how minor negligence like those Michelle cites: “…like walking to school, replacing soda with water or skim milk, trimming those portion sizes a little…” could bring significant changes in life to the extent of becoming a national issue. Personally, I have a cousin whose child is obese. Truly speaking, the child does not engage in physical activities and his mother knows least or cares least about keeping a balanced diet. Maybe it is because of her busy life. She does not have the luxury of time. Either way I agree with Michelle that parents should make the best decision for their kids regarding their diet and encourage them to engage in physical activities.

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Lastly, I am certainly not sure if the initiative is worth $10 billion of tax payer’s money. This I know most people would question saying it is a lot. If it will do well to the children, and prolong their lives, I say it is a worthy investment. The whole obesity issue and the initiative raise some questions that are subject to discussion. These questions include:

  • Who is to blame for the high levels of childhood obesity?
  • Is the amount of resources and money invested worth the course and should the cause be prioritized?
  • Does this mean that the government will somehow be controlling what we feed kids?
  • Advertisements play a crucial role in decision making, should junk food advertisements be banned?

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