Beginning in 1815, First Lady, Dolley Madison opened an orphan asylum to help poor children without families. Dolley’s charity work began a long tradition of First Ladies trying to bring the nation together as one. The majority of First Ladies had been successful in their work. However, Michelle Obama’s campaign existed during a time when America’s needs were far beyond the issue of obesity, and did not create an inspiring movement as she had hoped.
In 2010, America’s economic crisis was at its peak and people were out of work. Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign was not the priority of African-American parents. Financial struggles took substantially more forbearance during the time of the campaign, rather than worrying about their children’s weight issues.
In her speech, Remarks to the NAACP, Fist Lady Michelle Obama suggests that a change needs to be made in America regarding childhood obesity. Obama starts off by saying “now, right now in America, one in three children is overweight or obese, putting them at greater risks of obesity related conditions like diabetes and cancer, heart disease, asthma” (420) to support her belief on why childhood obesity needs to be addressed.
Obama pushes parents to choose better foods for their children as well as becoming more active with the “Let’s Move” campaign. The campaign focuses on creating a healthy start for children, giving parents the power to choose healthy foods, providing healthy food in schools and improving access to healthy foods.
Obama’s claim that the “Let’s Move” campaign will help fight and prevent childhood obesity rests upon the questionable assumption that American citizens will take action to become more healthy. As a nation, the United States is fortunate to have a surplus of food, however; not all of the nations’ food is healthy. Regardless of what the government tries to improve, Americans are still going to buy foods that fit the family’s budget, which can include anything from families buying Cheetos and soda to families buying fruits and vegetables. The majorities of American families do not have the time to be active in order to stay healthy. Most parents work 40 plus hours a week, while children are at school 5 days a week and then have homework as well as studying to do. Personally, I do not have time to stay active as a college student; therefore I have no right to tell other families to stay active. Obama has good intentions but she has a complete different life style than other Americans.
Michelle Obama is mistaken because she overlooks the problem of children having their own choice of foods while at school. While the government providing schools with healthier lunches is a step in the right direction, it will be a waste because students will not eat all the healthy foods they are provided. Children can still bring their own foods, and they still have the option to decide what they want to eat during lunch. If the government makes these changes, money will be wasted. The “Let’s Move” campaign has had good intentions from the start, however, it does not seem to be as successful. The campaign turned 5 this past year, yet the majority of the nation is still obese. Neither the government nor doctors can force parents to make better decisions for their children.
I say that obesity will not be changed in America until parents and children both find the motivation to become healthy. Nothing Michelle Obama, the NAACP or the government can do will change that. Low-income families need to find places will cheap and healthy foods to prepare better meals for their families, and families need to find the time to become more active together. Obama’s speech focuses on African-American children, and overlooks the bigger problem of the nations obese children in general. This is incorrect because it affects children of all races, as Obama points out “every extra hour of TV they watch is associated with the consumption of an additional 167 calories.” (423). With that being said, children need a better alternative that sitting around and snacking.
In all efforts of the government trying to provide citizens, rich or poor, with healthy food is going to continue to become a loss cause. If members of the “food desert” societies do not make a stand and show major grocery stores that they will in fact shop there then stores will not want to open businesses. If major stores build in low-income areas then they have a major chance of losing money because of wasted food costs. In all aspects of the American lifestyle, thing are no longer how they once were. Children were more active, and families could afford better food in past generations, obviously this is not the case anymore and the only ones that can fix it are families themselves. Regardless of what Obama tries to accomplish, nothing will be done unless the American people agree to fix the problems themselves and not wait on the government to fix the issues for us.