Julie Gunlock

Yes, this report suggests what industries "should" do, but it is just another small step to change those "shoulds" into "musts," if Washington bureaucrats decide industry isn't moving fast enough to implement their suggestions.

And the Let's Move! campaign already has legislative victories. One is expanding the school lunch and breakfast program—a poorly run, inefficient federal effort that is, at the very least, in part to blame for children's increased weights. This program once served only the poorest children, but today over 30 million children receive a school lunch.

The Let's Move! campaign claims credit for a provision in the ObamaCare legislation requiring employers to provide women breastfeeding break times and a private space for pumping milk. That's an onerous regulation that creates substantial costs for many businesses employing women.

Another provision of ObamaCare forces restaurants and vending machine operators with 20 or more locations (read: fast food) to provide visible calorie information to their patrons—despite overwhelming evidence that labels and calorie information do little to sway choices.

ObamaCare also requires all new health insurance plans to cover screenings for obesity and counseling on sustained weight loss, without charging any out of pocket cost for patients. The goal is to ensure doctors are assessing children's body mass index at all check-ups by 2012. And to add to the Orwellian creepiness of this requirement, a Domestic Policy Council report brags that the Department of Health and Human Services will be collecting this BMI data.

One can sympathize with Governors Huckabee and Christie who want to say something nice about the Let's Move! campaign and the first lady. They want to showcase their bipartisanship, concern for small children, and they know that the media will celebrate them for their “reasonableness.”

After all, this issue is about food and nutrition, a subject about which most Americans are ambivalent. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank put it: “For the first time in her adult life, Michelle Obama is really proud of her cauliflower. She’s also proud of her carrots, her chard, her collards, her cabbage, her chamomile, chervil and kohlrabi -- and everything else in her White House garden.” Many Americans and ambitious politicians may be happy to let the first lady work in her garden dreaming of skinny children everywhere, and applaud her efforts as harmless. Yet the public needs to realize that her efforts go much further than offering helpful advice and innocent dreams of a healthier public.

Regulatory nightmares lurk behind those lovely rows of garden vegetables.


Julie Gunlock

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