Dear Michelle Obama,
Normally, this would be about the time we would expect to see you and your husband crowing triumphantly about how you brought the nation’s obesity crisis to an end. Through a slick combination of sensible advice (“Let’s Move!”) and government interference, you were going to turn back the evil sugar industry and save America’s youth from diabetes, heart disease, and unkind playground nicknames. It was foolproof!
So what happened?
Maybe you and Barack haven’t gotten around to reading this month’s issue of the medical journal, Obesity, but there’s a very strange study in there. It says that a Duke University scientist named Asheley Skinner took data from the CDC going back to 1999, and it turns out…American kids are still fat!
Despite your stringent school lunch requirements, despite your attempts to force every company to post their calorie information, you didn’t accomplish a damn thing. Skinner’s data shows that there has been a steady increase in obesity rates among children since 1999. Just from 2012 to 2014, there was a jump from 31.8% to 33.2%. That there is what we like to call a failure.
“There is no evidence of a change in obesity prevalence in any age group, despite substantial clinical and policy efforts targeting the issue,” the study concluded.
Now, Michelle. Look. If this was just about your public awareness campaign, that would be one thing. A first lady has to do something with her time, and that’s…you know, it’s something to do. No one expected it to have any impact.
But when you and your husband decided that talk-show appearances weren’t going to be enough, you set in motion a very dangerous machine. Sure, sure, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is supposed to be an “opt-in” program, so you have plausible deniability. But let’s face it, there weren’t many school districts in a position to turn down that sweet, sweet federal money. And that’s how you guys always get us. Today, it’s “opt-in.” Tomorrow, it’s mandatory. After all, the only known Democratic Party response to failure is to double-down on the same policies.
So this isn’t about rubbing your face in your failure, because no one ever seriously believed these regulations were going to make the slightest dent in childhood obesity rates. This is a letter to let you know that we’re ready. We’re ready for you to address these statistics and move the goalposts. Oh, this is just the first step, guys! We can do so much more! We just need to spend a little more money, okay? We just need to steal a pinch more autonomy away from state and local government. And hey, what about those grocery stores? It’s easier to buy a box of Cheez-Its than it is to buy a gun! Wait, that’s not it, but you know what I’m saying.
We know what you’re saying. We’re just waiting for you to say it.