by Jessica Maksimov
In 2010 Michelle Obama launched her “Let’s Move!” campaign. Finally! The problems of childhood and adult obesity were being addressed and all the health issues would soon be resolved, right? Sadly, wrong. Although Michelle Obama was praised for her efforts by many, a lot of people failed to realize that the campaign did not meet its goal: ending childhood obesity in a generation. Moreover, it barely did anything at all.
Michelle’s enthusiasm throughout this campaign gave the public hope, but it was ultimately a failure. When the campaign was first launched the childhood obesity rate was about 17% in the U.S. According to a study done by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, this percentage has remained largely unchanged.
The actions taken to actually bring about change were simply not enough. Millions of dollars have been funneled into efforts attempting to aid in the fight against the obesity epidemic, but the rate is still growing.
The “Let’s Move Campaign” has certainly increased public awareness of the current epidemic; however, the movements have not improved school lunches, sugar consumption, meal portions, or any other factors adding up to the unheard of weights of teenagers. The reality is evident in the school lunches and the easy accessibility kids have to cheap, unhealthy snacks.
Before anyone starts pointing their fingers at the former First Lady for the lack of change, they should know that there is a reason no progress has been made. Companies like Coca Cola, Kellogg, Nestle and PepsiCo have been the root of the problem for years. They have also been the ones running interference to any plans for healthier meals.
These massive corporations are only able to profit if consumers buy their food, and because they are so large and affluent, they have a say in a lot of public policy. Large companies are able to use their lobbyists in Congress hearings to essentially block any plans that may limit their profit. Against influential businesses the work of the First Lady is sadly powerless. Until we address the elephant in the congress room, blocking all the bills that could help children, we are not going to make any progress.