April 24th, 2014
First Lady's Next Hurdle for Children's Health
By Monifa Bandele
When First Lady Michelle Obama announced in 2010 that she’d be tackling skyrocketing childhood obesity rates in the U.S., the attacks were swift and shrill. Naysayers accused her of creating a “nanny state” and of starving student athletes who’d pass out on football fields if their dense, empty calories were replaced with fruits and vegetables.
Fast forward four years and over 90% of schools across the country are meeting updated nutrition standards for school meals, and we’re starting to see early signs that childhood obesity rates may be declining among certain age groups and in some locations. This progress reflects the work of many people, but Mrs. Obama’s decision to focus on helping kids grow up healthy has clearly created a shift in the ways we talk about everything from school breakfasts and lunches to what’s for sale in school vending machines. And, that talk has led to action.