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Sarah Palin Opposed to First Lady's Anti-Obesity Campaign

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Guest blogger Kate Tuttle: Michelle Obama, following in established First Lady footsteps, has adopted a couple of issues to focus on as an advocate during her husband's time in office. For both Laura and Barbara Bush, the issues were education and literacy; for Hillary Clinton, it was women and children's health. In other words, being married to the President and working on the behalf of relatively uncontroversial feel-good issues just kind of go together. So there's nothing really shocking about Michelle Obama planting a vegetable garden at the White House, going on "Sesame Street" to talk about healthy eating with Elmo or promoting her "Let's Move!" campaign against childhood obesity. Except to Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin
On Laura Ingraham's radio show last week, the former Republican Vice Presidential candidate slammed Michelle Obama's anti-obesity program, warning that it smacks of government intrusion into parental decisions over how to feed and raise children.

A quote: "Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track."

Now, I've read the stuff on the Let's Move website (which has sections on food and nutrition, exercise and other health-related topics). I'm not seeing any kind of massive government takeover of the food industry, and certainly not of individual families' kitchens. What I do see is middle-of-the-road, common-sense advice and information for parents, as well as some policy recommendations for better product package information (so that, for instance, junk food cannot hide its true caloric and sodium loads by misleading consumers about the size of a "portion") and a call for partnerships with pediatricians so that children's doctors get more involved in supporting families to raise healthier kids. Nobody's advocating taking away parental authority over kids, although I have to admit, there are times when I wish I could intervene whenever I see a family of supersized kids whose parents clearly are contributing to their lifelong poor health.

Another kid-focused political food fight is in the works, this one on Capitol Hill, where Congress is prepared to vote this week on a bill authorizing an expansion of eligibility for free and reduced school lunches -- particularly needed in today's economy, where an estimated 20 percent of children (35 percent of black children) are living at or below the poverty line. (Those figures are from 2008, so they are certainly understated.) The bill also sets new guidelines in place to ensure that school lunches are nutritionally sound. Given that many children receive inadequate meals at home, making sure that what they get at school is good for them seems to be eminently sound public policy. Even the relatively conservative FOXNews organization argues that school lunch programs are essential to helping break the cycle of poverty.

Palin's just using this issue to make political hay -- and I think this one might backfire on her. If there's one thing everybody agrees on, it's that our kids deserve the best lives we can prepare them for. As divided as our country is right now, it's hard to picture anybody but the most extreme Palin fan really buying her argument. As this piece in the Huffington Post makes clear, it may be poor politics for Palin to attack Michelle Obama, who remains more popular than her husband (a common situation for First Ladies), and especially for a program that aims to help children's health, an issue with which it is difficult to ... well, take issue. But Palin works in mysterious ways.

I'm eager to see where she takes this -- and whether or not anyone will follow.


next: Putting Baby on Auto-Soothe
111 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pott54 December 7, 2010, 8:54 AM

Mike Said: “Pott54 your are incapable of seeing your own prejudice

*******

MIKE, IS THAT THE BEST YA GOT? LOL! Calling the comments of others “prejudice” when they speak out against a phoney like Palin is laughable - LOL!

Roxanne Johns December 7, 2010, 9:04 AM

I don’t understand the need to be lectured about what to feed my children. It is being said that it is the less fortunate that feed their kids fast food because it is cheaper than healthy food. Maybe there should be more put into birth control and education for the people that need it intead of trying to control what parents do. Why have a child if you have no say in how they are raised?
I fear this has more to do with Obamacare and less to do with concern over obese children….

Pam Johnston December 7, 2010, 9:05 AM

I have to agree with Palin on this one. I think nutritional school lunches are certainly a good thing, no one can dispute that,but they are not the problem. The problem lies with lazy parenting.It does no good to feed them a healthy lunch then allow them to go home and sit on their backsides eating chips and soft drinks the rest of the day.When you see a two hundred pound 6th grader, you will probably find a three hundred pound mother at home ! People are living off of fast food. Mom stops on the way home from work, and grabs McDonalds or a pizza. I know people that are doing this ! These are educated people and they are still eating this way! I have also noticed a change in the way play time at school is handled. When I was in school, we had organized activities at recess time.We played ball,ran foot races, all sorts of active things. Today, they just open the door and send them out to do whatever they want to do, even if it’s sit on the ground and eat candy bars! Thatis what has to change. To speak to whether or not this is governmental intrusion, well, I think it is . There have already been incidents around the country of kids having their lunch from home confiscated because they didn’t have lettuce or a slice of tomato on their sandwich. How silly! You must ask yourself how far this will go. The problem is MUCH bigger than school lunches, it is a lifestyle problem, and throwing billions of dollars at school lunches won’t change that.Let’s spend that money on after school programs that get kids moving and out from in front of the tv or game box.Lets spend it teaching them that physical activity is fun. Lets spend it on sports at school, where so many cash strapped schools are having to drop sports or charge kids to play, causing some kids to have to drop out of that activity.I managed to raise three healthy,slim children to adulthood and the government didn’t have to tell me how to do it. I have nothing against Mrs Obama and I am sure that her intentions are good, but I think the money could be better spent, if addressing obesity is your goal.

Roaxanne December 7, 2010, 9:07 AM

The schools are run by the government….why don’t they serve healthy meals in schools first before they pick apart parents?

Airica Cain December 7, 2010, 9:15 AM

EVERY First Lady has an initiative. For Palin to slam Mrs. Obama’s initiative is down right insane. Its about time someone pays attention to what are children are eating and especially at school. If parents don’t want to do this…it is not law and it is not being mandated. Its the First Lady’s initiative!!! If she wants to attack somebody she needs to keep it with the President not the First Lady. She is really starting to work my last nerves! She should’ve been concerned about her daughter keeping her legs closed while she dating the Levy Character!

shelagh mayhew December 7, 2010, 9:22 AM

Ya know…. She has a lot of nerve to condemn someone that is trying to help the kids become more aware that they can do something for themselves by watching the first lady plant a garden and then to gather the efforts and eat the gifts of the earth. Sarah on the other hand would rather go out and hunt a bear or other meat animal and say that she was doing the best for her family, which is just what Michelle Obama is doing for her country. The best is what we expect. Criticism isn’t a good example.

Anonymous December 7, 2010, 9:39 AM

I happen to like Sarah Palin. And in all honesty, what’s the point of teaching kids to eat healthy if they can’t eat healthy foods. The problem isn’t how much we eat, it is what we eat. Many people such as myself cannot afford to eat fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods all the time. I can barely put food on the table as it is. Face it healthy food is expensive. Processed foods are cheap. But of course processed foods are the worse things for you. What the government needs to do is get rid of processed foods and lower the prices on the fruits, vegetables, and other healthy types of foods so people can afford to eat healthy.

Sylva December 7, 2010, 10:06 AM

Somebody should warn Sarah Palin, she is trying to destroy America with her style of campaign. Why would she always find fault in every good move by the Presidency?
America should remember that her under-aged child got pregnant, so to me, she does not know how to manage a home.

Pott54 December 7, 2010, 10:29 AM

Weird Said: “M. Obama is try to ban bake sales at kids schools. I think that’s too much.
———
There ya go. Just like Palin—-“willfully” telling a blatant LIE.

Michelle Obama has never advocated a ban on bake sales in schools nor is she leading the charge to remove toys from fast food chains. And yet, people like Palin & her supporters are supposed to be the MORAL CONSCIOUS of the country? NOT! Palin & her followers are nothing but a bunch of LIARs!

Militant Ignorance is BLISS - LOL!

Robert December 7, 2010, 10:33 AM

I wonder what Palin thinks of “intrusive” fitness programs under Reagan and George Bush Sr, and the President’s Council on Fitness?
I’ve also noticed her primary angle as a “grizzly mom” or whatever she styles herself as these days is that the government wants to come in and regulate nutrition on school lunches and with regards to bake sales, etc. While I personally like school bake sales for a number of reasons, Palin seems to conveniently forget that free/cheap public school lunches are by their very existence a government “intrusion,” and were encouraged by the military after WWII as a way to get kids at least one healthy meal a day. Then it was that kids were too skinny and undernourished. Now they’re too fat and over-nourished. Where’s the harm in trying to modulate the one meal a day they get from their taxpayer-funded school day?
I’m hopeful these sorts of off-the-wall statements by her, along with camping out with Kate Gosslin, will eventually even scare off the Tea Party.

Pott54 December 7, 2010, 10:35 AM

Anonymous Said: “What the government needs to do is get rid of processed foods and lower the prices on the fruits, vegetables, and other healthy types of foods so people can afford to eat healthy.
——
NOPE, can’t do that. According to Ms. Palin (who as you stated - YOU like) - this would be another attempt by the government to RUN YOUR LIFE. LOL! Although she might go for YOUR idea if the Obama’s don’t agree with it too.

Mom December 7, 2010, 10:47 AM

Palin is a complete disgrace. America’s kids and adults do suffer from obesity. The gov’t isn’t intruding, Michelle is promoting a healthy lifestyle. No one is going to take away your moon pies, so relax!

Dianna December 7, 2010, 10:49 AM

Sarah Palin is the epitome of hypocrisy. Almost everything she has done or said is hypocritical to who she really is. She is a joke folks and it is sad how many peolpe in our country are being duped by her self-promotion. She and her daughter can make a ton of money parading around the country telling people that they should be abstinent and that is OK?? She claims to have left the Governorship of Alaska mid-term because all the media attention was disreputing her family life. The list goes on and on..What a hypocritical joke she is!!

WALK THETALK December 7, 2010, 10:52 AM

Sarah Palin talks about Government taking over peoples lives.
She was Governor of Alaska a job, but she QUIT so she could earn more MONEY !! didn’t see her complaining than. The people that elected her was not even a thought on this decision .

Dianna December 7, 2010, 11:03 AM

Becky C. I agree with your opinion of her, but we don’t want her in Alaska either. If she were to run for ANYTHING here(in Alaska), she would loose hands down. She has disgusted and shamed people of all the political parties here in AK. Maybe she can find a home wherever that FAKE accent comes from. Another Sarah Palin self-promotion hypocrisy tool. You betcha.

Mike December 7, 2010, 11:27 AM

Pott54 if someone disagrees with you they are not as intelligent as you. I doubt you have accomplished as much as Sarah Palin has. I have worked for the government and can tell you they waste you tax money at a n extraordinary pace. They will put more money into trying to feed people and the food will be no better than it is now. Mrs. obama who none of us voted for will look like a wonderful angel spending our tax money on another government program. As for being annoyed with other first ladies and their opinions HOW WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT MY POLITCS ARE. I for one think most of what they do and say is silly. They want to feel important so they are given some useless thing to do. Just say NO !!! GET A GRIP

Knagy December 7, 2010, 11:37 AM

Why are we still giving Sarah Palin so much of our attention???

Susan December 7, 2010, 12:09 PM

Palin is a joke. She’s digging a deeper hole every time she talks. There is no way she will be voted into anything.

Teri December 7, 2010, 12:15 PM

Shut-up already Palin. She never stops w/her hatred of Obama. The stuff that spills out of her ignorant brain should scare all republicans. I for one will vote demo if she runs. She is not what we need running our country or handing out advise.

M December 7, 2010, 12:26 PM

For those you see this as “government intrusion”, why do we have laws? I don’t want a bunch of laws trying to tell me how to live my life! Such foolishness, isn’t it? Let’s face it, regulations are needed because corporations can’t be trusted to do the right thing without a little “incentive.” GREED is the ruler of the day.

Also, I bet the same ones that scream intrusion are the same ones against healthcare for all. You’d be the first to say that people ought to eat better, wouldn’t you? Such hypocrisy!

Sarah Palin ought to go back to Alaska and shut up! She just wants attention.


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