Julie Gunlock

The media is swooning: Republican Governors Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie recently defended First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let's Move! campaign. The New Jersey Star Ledger editorial board praised Governor Christie for chivalrously coming to the first lady's defense. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page applauded them for deciding to "stand up for sanity," suggesting, of course, that those critical of the first lady are insane. The New York Times also offered praise adding the first lady "has not called for government mandates on this issue."

Yet it is the media and those defending the Let's Move! campaign that are out-of-touch with reality. While Governors Huckabee and Christie suggest the first lady is simply using her high profile position to encourage people to eat well and exercise, it's clear that the White House is willing to go much further than using the bully pulpit to achieve its lofty goal of "solving the problem of obesity within a generation."

The campaign’s task force offered ten pages of "recommendations," which revealed its intent to micromanage the food industry and expand government in the name of fighting obesity.

Here's a sample:

•Recommendation 2.2: The FDA and USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service should collaborate with the food and beverage industry to develop and implement a standard system of nutrition labeling for the front of packages.

•Recommendation 2.3: Restaurants and vending machine operators subject to the new requirement in the Affordable Care Act should be encouraged to begin displaying calorie counts as soon as possible.

•Recommendation 2.4: Restaurants should consider their portion sizes, improve children's menus, and make healthy options the default choice whenever possible.

•Recommendation 2.6: All Media and entertainment companies should limit the licensing of their popular characters to food and beverage products that are healthy and consistent with science-based nutrition standards.

•Recommendation 2.7: The food and beverage industry and the media and entertainment industry should jointly adopt meaningful, uniform nutrition standards for marketing food and beverages to children, as well as a uniform standard for what constitutes marketing to children.

•Recommendation 2.8: Industry should provide technology to help consumers distinguish between advertisements for healthy and unhealthy foods and to limit their children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertisements.


Julie Gunlock

Julie Gunlock is director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women’s Forum (www.iwf.org).