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Let’s Move! Hangout: Pros and Cons

Allie bowling

Exercise doesn’t have to be outdoors.

First Lady Michelle Obama, or @FLOTUS as she’s known on Twitter, did her first official Google Plus Hangout today, promoting her “Let’s Move!” program. “Let’s Move!” is three years old, and it’s getting a boost from “Let’s Move! Active Schools.” So, what were my impressions from a conservative perspective?

Pros:

  • When asked about the country’s attitude toward the obese, the First Lady answered, “We should be talking about these issues in terms of health instead of how… people look physically.” While this was not quite a satisfactory answer to the actual question, it is much better than the “Fat Letters” that focus purely on weight. She uses common-sense benchmarks for health, such as the ability to breathe easily after walking up stairs.
  • I was dubious at first when Mrs. Obama said that teaching kids about nutrition would help them to make good choices in the school cafeteria. After all, every child and parent knows that vegetables are good for them. However, her advice on the subject is sound. She said to “Take a bite or two of your fruits and vegetables,” even if you don’t like how they taste.
  •  Her assertion that schools must not choose between exercise and academics is one I whole-heartedly agree with. My own experience with schools’ attitudes toward recess tells me that students do better, especially in the afternoon, if they have time to let off some steam after lunch. Though I find her suggestion to go outside and play in the snow a logistical nightmare for teachers, I do agree that it’s difficult to teach when your class has cabin fever.
  •  Whether intentional or not, Mrs. Obama answered one question that has been frequently asked on Facebook. Who walks Bo, the First Dog? According to the First lady, it’s not some overpaid trainer, but rather the girls that walk the dog every night after dinner.

Cons:

  •  Early on in the discussion, the First Lady said, “Kids that age can’t control what they eat.” I understand she means that parents set the menu for children, but the Republican in me bristled at the thought. Where is personal responsibility? Must parents have the blame for everything? Common sense and history tell us that kids will try to throw away their vegetables. (She even speaks up against it.) The concept of stealing cookies from the jar reminds us that kids will find a way to snack, despite their parents’ good intentions.
  • There is an inconsistent view of religion in her worldview. “Church was a safe haven growing up,” she said, talking about how the basement of her church was like a community center, a safe place to play. A house of worship? No. Children are welcome to go to church for music lessons, but don’t bring that prayer back to a public school… not a Christian prayer, anyway. In her discussion of one activity she had been involved in, she used the phrase, “Go into Namaste.” Far from a neutral term, it is often a form of meditation connected with the concept of a Divine spark.
  • When asked what schools in poor districts can do to improve their lunches, the First Lady was quick to mention getting help from the USDA and remind us that, “These nutrition standards are becoming a requirement.” While she did say that the initiative should be taken locally, the message is unmistakable: The federal government has legal control over every school cafeteria in the country.

Talk to me on Twitter: @alliesings

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4 thoughts on “Let’s Move! Hangout: Pros and Cons

  1. A side-note somewhat related to your point about children making their own choices: teachers and children’s workers have consistently informed us that our six-year-old regularly turns down candy and sugary treats offered to her at school or church when we are not present. There are also times when she accepts one and tells us about it later, (and I’m sure there are times when she accepts quite a few and doesn’t tell us about them), but my point is, kids as young as six and probably younger are capable of making good food choices as long as they have had some guidance on what a good food choice actually is and WHY it is good, rather than just “eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.”

    Whew! How’d you like THAT run-on?

    • That’s why I support the education program that she recommends. Kids and parents both need to understand why they should make healthier choices. On the other hand, mandating expensive programs and adding it to the national tax burden, I could do without.

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