“Dangerous nonsense”

Paul Campos, writing in TNR, dissects Michelle Obama’s audacious plan to “eliminate this problem of childhood obesity in a generation.” 

He brings in the process of doing so, he brings up a troubling incident from inside the First Family:  

The Obamas are worried about their daughters getting fat. In November 2008, Barack got a promotion and mentioned to the media that, a couple years earlier, he was concerned that Malia had become “a little chubby.” A later visit to a pediatrician convinced Michelle that both Malia and her  sister Sasha needed to slim down.

She banned the girls from watching television on weekdays, put them on low-fat milk, replaced sugary drinks with water, largely eliminated hamburgers from their diet, and monitored portion sizes at meals carefully. The next time she took them to the doctor, she reports, he was amazed. “What on Earth are you doing?” he asked.

It’s a good question.

[O]ne wonders if the First Lady has considered that putting her pre-teen daughters on diets is far more likely to make them eating disordered rather than permanently thin. (If the kind of obsessive monitoring of food and activity choices Obama recommends to parents actually “worked,” there would be almost no fat kids in America today, at least in the middle and upper class families where Obama’s anxieties about her daughters’ weight are all too common). And does she really think it’s a good idea for her husband to make negative comments about his daughter’s body to the nation’s media?


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