Yesterday, as the keynote speaker at the National Association of Colored People's national convention in Kansas City, Michelle spent much of her half-hour address discussing her Let's Move Initiative.
Now, I'm all for getting kids to move around. It annoys me to no-end to see my kids in front of the television playing X-Box. I've had to set time limits and make threats.
That's not my real beef with you, Michelle. You say you had recess twice a day and gym twice a week when you were growing up. How lucky! Sorry, Michelle, but the government isn't helping us keep our kids slim. You're telling us not to make our kids fat? Do you know parents have had to fight hard to ensure our grade school kids get recess once a day because our teachers are way busy teaching our kids how to take standardized tests, fearing a poor test score will cost them their jobs. And then there's gym class. At a school nearby me, specials like PE are being cut. The PE coach has just become a fifth grade teach to stay employed. So, it's now up to parents to keep our kids moving, and parents don't have a lot of spare time or energy to do it.
Michelle, you say children are spending too much time in convenience stores where they walk out with caloric food and beverages. You are right. How about offering them a nutrition course in school and teach where to get low cost healthy alternatives? You need to get more involved in public education! My daughter is going to high school and she's learned zip about how much sugar is in soda.
Do you know why some kids are at convenience stores and eating fast food? Because otherwise they wouldn't eat. Their parents don't have an on staff chef. They work, probably more hours than ever these days to earn the same money they used to get. They aren't getting home in time to make their kids dinner or leaving too early to make breakfast and the only choice might be frozen food or a donut from 7 Eleven.
Michelle, you say our kids are "living a lifestyle that's dooming too many of our children to a lifetime of poor health." Help create more jobs. Jobless America can't afford organic chicken with a side of spinach.
Do you know how many kids go home on Friday after getting a free lunch at school and don't eat again until Monday? Along with obesity Michelle, our nation has a very high rate of children living in poverty with not enough to eat. In 2008, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21.0 percent compared to 11.3 percent, according to FeedingAmerica.org.
Parents need help if we're going to keep our kids healthy. We need better options at convenience stores and fast food restaurants. We need more jobs with decent hours and better pay so parents can afford to make healthy meals for our kids. We need to encourage physical fitness in schools, not cut athletic programs.
This working mother believes in your message, Michelle. She just needs more from you.