American Elephants


Super Sprowtz? Let’s All Indoctrinate the Kids! by The Elephant's Child

BN-BS333_0227Fo_G_20140227155350

Do you find yourself wondering these days just what you can believe? When they are not just plain lying to you for political purposes, they are exaggerating, or making false claims, or insisting that you ignore what you know to be true. I’m at the point where I don’t want to hear any of those innocuous public service announcements from some federal agency and the ad council, and I’m irritated at the ad council for participating.

Take, for example, the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, please. It seems now, there is not and never was any childhood obesity epidemic. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on a study that indicates that obesity rates among two to five-year olds have plunged over the past decade.

The prevalence of obesity in two to five-year olds declined by an estimated 39.6 percent between 2003-04 and 2011-12 from 13.9 percent to 8.4 percent. According to the same study, it declined by 23 percent between 2003-04  and 2005-06 and then rose by 19.8 percent between 2007-08 and 2009-10. Huh?

Childhood obesity is a brand-new concept, invented a few years ago for essentially political reasons. It is arbitrary. They took the 95th percentile of the height-weight chart from the 60’s and 70’s and treated that as a definition of childhood obesity. Besides that, it was based on a deeply flawed Body-Mass Index height-weight ratio (BMI) that inflates the obesity rate. And it was self-reported!

The United States at the present time has an enormous weight loss industry. Stop and think about a day’s accumulation of messages about diet or weight control on the radio, in magazines, online (“Eat this one weird food”), weight-loss programs, diet foods, diet programs, health clubs, fashion models, latest fashions, and so on.  Fat is big business. Some of that enthusiasm was bound to overflow to the kids.

I have a small modicum of expertise in little kids and fat. Many years of Red-Cross swim lessons and you see a lot of small bodies. Some little kids are naturally and healthily — skinny. Really skinny. Other kids of the same age are naturally and healthily — stocky, not fat, but stocky.  I don’t know what they were measuring, but it wasn’t real kids.

I assume with the best of intentions, Michelle Obama set out to cope with the epidemic of childhood obesity. (Naturally with reports of the decline, Ms. Obama is being credited with the improvement) Not so.

Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned National School Lunch Program has not gone well. There has been a sharp decline in participation, a total of 1,086,000 students stopped buying school lunch. 321 districts  left the National School Lunch Program altogether, many citing the new standards as a factor.  (Translation: The kids hated the meals.) The waste problem was huge, kids threw out the healthy fruits and vegetables. Lunchroom costs went up because schools needed additional kitchen equipment to comply with the new lunch requirements.

Calorie counts were specified for each age group, but kids in athletic programs weren’t getting enough to eat. This is not a small problem. The National School Lunch Program served more than 31 million children in fiscal 2012, with $11.6 billion in federal support. In many cases schools had to raise the price of meals to cope with increased requirements, an estimated $3.2 billion overall for school districts to come up with. Participation dropped even more in 2012-2013.

Reformers believe that the kids will get used to the “healthy food” and eventually get to like it. Students discarded roughly 60 to 75 percent of the vegetables and 40 percent of the fruit. Some nutritionists say that fruit is simply sugar anyway. I don’t know. I saw a menu a while back, and I thought it was pretty gross.

Undeterred, Ms. Obama is proposing a ban on marketing junk food and sodas in schools, and an expansion of food service to free breakfast and lunch. She is also pushing new food nutrition labels for grocery store products to make them easier to read and easier for people to understand. If you are wondering who elected…, and where does the authority… nevermind. If you are pondering the similarities between this boondoggle and ObamaCare, it’s all in the family, isn’t it.

As for the nutrition labeling program (do they not have any understanding of the costs this kind of thing imposes on business or what it does to the cost of food? Of course not.) A. Barton Hinkle takes that program on in a piece entitled “Big Government Will Help You Eat Right.” Funny! Do read the whole thing, you will need the laugh.

Americans so dumb. Not know how to do basic stuff, like eat. Or read. Or math. Dumber than sack of hammers, really. Take labels on boxes and cans of food.




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