Lunchtime poll – government grub
September 14th, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed members of the the National Restaurant Association on the role that meals outside the home play in the health of the nation's children. She was speaking on behalf of the national "Let's Move" campaign to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity.

While many of our commenters are in support of her - or anyone - taking up the cause, whenever we report on governmental involvement in childhood nutrition, we're bound to hear from those in opposition.

"I will make my own decisions and I will accept the consequences of those choices. I do not need the government making those decisions or limiting my options." - clark1b

"What we need in this country is more personal responsibility for one's actions, NOT more government intervention because the parents are inept!" - KitKat Mr.

Previously - Top Chef's Tom Colicchio talks school lunch reform and readers weigh in on free school lunch

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Filed under: Buzz • Food Politics • Lunchtime Poll • School Lunch

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soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. seo

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article.Thanks Once more. Awesome. seo

    April 24, 2013 at 11:39 am |
  2. Esther

    Whether the government tries to get involved or not is irrelevant. The task falls onto the parents at the end. It's up to the parents to educate, protect and keep their children healthy. When you think about it, it's up to the individual child himself because at the end the parent, government and school can do the right things but the child makes the ultimate decision.

    September 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  3. Rusty

    Obama's Surgeon General is obese, and Michelle "thunder thighs" Obama isn't exactly a model herself. Good ol Barry is a smoker who's every meal in the press seems to be deep fried or greasy burgers.

    And they're trying to tell US about good eating habits??

    September 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Scott

    The government originally instituted the school lunch program as a result of the all the poor specimens they received in the military draft. It is strategically important to make sure that the next generation of canon fodder is worthy for the uniform. Its the same reason we still subsidize agriculture because its a strategic resource. This crop of youngsters needs to be ready and fit for the invasion of Iran either in 2012 or 2016.

    September 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  5. corey

    If the government would stop subsidizing corn, high fructose corn syrup would be more expensive and less frequently used. Maybe obesity levels would fall to where they were before it existed.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
  6. Rob

    Fat Kid = Lazy parent Mandatory education for Dumbass parents required

    September 14, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  7. WinterClover

    It is obvious with the obseity crisis in this country that fat parents raise fat children and teach them fat behavior. All this is doing is slowly killing the population, and truthfully I am fine with that. Darwinism is real and these fatty people are a walking example of it! If you refuse to teach your children to be healthy then sadly it is the children who suffer, not the parents...but as it has been shown parents don't really care or it wouldn't be an issue. There are countless resources out there for healthy eating, behavior, lifestyle and all-around good health...the government can't help people who don't want to be helped...and these people obviously don't want help or else they won't be inhaling Taco Bell while talking about gastric by-pass.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Troll

    I think the best way for the government to promote a healthful lifestyle is through education (providing resources for making heathy decisions) and positive reinforcement (lowering the cost of "good" foods and/or offering a tax credit for healthful food choices). This way, the government can encourage healthful behavior without usurping parental authority or trying to shove healthy choices down the publics' throats. I see nothing wrong with regulations that force businesses to provide the public with better information about the nutrition (or lack thereof) in their food products though. Seeing how many calories (and calories from fat) are in some foods could be a great benefit, especially for people who order the salad that they think is healthy, but actually had more fat & calories than a Big Mac because of the cheese and salad dressing!
    Taxing "bad" foods would be a mistake. Not everyone who chooses to eat "bad" foods does so to the extent that it causes them health problems, so why punish them for their responsible behavior?

    September 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm |
  9. Cyndie Tidwell

    It is the government's business to provide resources concerning health of our nation's families. During WW II, a tremendously high percentage of young men failed the physical to enter military service due to the devastating effects of malnutrition during the 1930"s. Statistics from this period of time informed Congress of the need for school food programs. I'm sure the Food Research and Action Coalition in Wash., DC, could give extensive information on the effects of malnutrition in children. Look at today's obese teenagers...what percentage would be fit for duty in the military if we had a serious need for tens of thousands of recruits. This is a matter of national security.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
  10. Foodie

    I voted other, but wanted to vote 'The government should provide resources but leave it up to parents how to use them.' But I know the government doesn't really have any reason to provide us with resources that would actually improve our health. Any 'resources' provided come from those with the money – Got Milk ring a cow bell? Not actual sound nutrition information. The issue of bad health and obesity will not end until we are told the truth about role nutrition plays in maintaining a healthy life.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  11. Brooke

    Like it or not, the government is already involved in your children's nutrition via school lunch programs as well as the FDA in general. The problem is that the government has not been responsible in those programs so far, offering processed garbage at every turn. Parents should be responsible for what their children eat, but for those families that can't afford any other meals and rely on the government programs... the government needs to use that opportunity to teach healthy habits for the future, rather than provide what is cheap.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  12. Patty

    I don't want government to dictate simply because their recommendations have been so wrong in the past and who's to say that the current recommendations are just as wrong as those from 1980, or 1970?
    The most recent research seems to indicate the recommendations for any grains and legumes are misguided, and that for optimal health, focus should be on protein from animal/fish sources and plentiful non-starchy veggies.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  13. Tim

    Since the Gov't and Large Food Processors are responisble for the legislation that has caused small diverse farms out of business in favor of the huge industrial farms for the sole purpose to produce the the most food as cheaply as possible. This has been going on since the 40's, and they still haven't gotten it right. Our Health has not improved, life span my have increased, but that is due to the advancement of medicines. Our health is directly related to the what we eat and what we eat eats. I for one would fight any more gov't input into our diets, since I have to wonder what their true intention really is. Stop eating processed food! Stop being lazy and cook for once, buy real food, if your great great great grandmother can't identify it, it's not food you should be eating, it's that simple.

    September 14, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  14. L A

    Our leaders are trying to help us focus on a very real problem that is killing Americans of all ages every day. Obesity has many causes, and eating healthy is one of them. If we can educate parents and children about eating more healthy foods, our society will be healthier. Education is the key. We need to stop getting so defensive when people are trying to help us. It's sad that we don't have enough sense to help ourselves, but that's another problem. (Again, education of ALL is the key.)

    September 14, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  15. Michelle

    All she did was make a speech to restaurant owners. It's clearly part of the raising awareness/public education part of the initiative. How is this an example of the government trying to "control" anyone's life? I don't even understand what there is to complain about.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  16. Wow

    Coming from a low income area I see what people on food stamps receive. Needless to say it isn't very much. In fact it is so sad that you rich, high and mighty, thin people look down on what people can afford. It's not like the government actually gives you enough money on your "food stamps" (now a debit card set up) to buy the healthy foods. I should know I have been around families my entire life who have had to use them and have seen parents go hungry so their child can eat. Even though what they can afford is "junk food" you should be happy that they are trying to feed their child and help them grow up so they don't have to live the rest of their life the way they grew up. I wouldn't imagine that a single person on this survey has actually had to choose between putting gas in your car to go to work and feeding your child with that same cash. I have not had to go through this but I have seen more than a few families make this decision because of the money received was not near enough to actually feed a single child. Until you have been there and seen what poor people are handed and told to deal with maybe you just shouldn't talk. You make it sound as though there is some sort of huge cash flow coming from the pennies you pay in taxes that as I have read goes to: children school lunches, the low income families who can’t afford food, “fat” people who are too lazy or incapable to get a job, medications for obese children and their parents, and other healthcare (doctors, nurses, hospital rooms) bills which add up and lead people to bankrupt life style and coming full circle to the junk food.
    Maybe instead of complaining that the government is taking your money to help a starving child eat that day you could be proud that you are helping another human live. I know this goes against what has been driven and burned into the American mind that “everything that exists has made to make me and only me happy” but perhaps this is the reason our country is headed towards the deep end. What happened to the American idea of looking out for your neighbor and helping without being asked? The consumer mindset of this country is more of a poison to our children then the sweets.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • healthcare

      It is irresponsible to have kids if you cannot even feed them.

      September 14, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
      • Michelle

        Sure. Let's leave out all the people who fell on hard times AFTER the kids were born, or the pregnancies that were unintentional. Lets leave out the working poor, who receive a huge portion of the food stamps given out. Let's just assume that there are a lot of irresponsible people out there having kids they can't feed. Now what? The kids are here, right? So we should let them starve, to teach their irresponsible parents a lesson? Leave them to fend for themselves because its "not our problem?" Outside of "they just shouldn't have kids", what is the solution?

        September 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
      • D


        September 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
    • Michelle

      I totally agree with this. Welfare is not a lot of money. I've seen it in action and it ain't pretty.

      September 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
  17. President Barack Obama

    Ok, after all of this vitriol about childhood obesity, Michell and I have come up with a new gov't bailout program. We are calling it "Bikes For Brats", and it works as follows: If your child cannot lift the goverment issued bicycle, they get it for free. We will even send over an illegal immigrant to ride it for them, thus avoiding that whole exercise thing. This, combined with Michelle's meddling in dietary requirements, shoudl have a drastic effect on reducing childhood obesity. And like all of my otehr programs, we will pay for it by...Oh who am I kidding, we will never pay for this...bwahahaha

    September 14, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  18. JJ

    At my children's school, they require kindergarteners to have an afternoon snack. But, they provide a list of approved snacks (mostly due to allergies). What's weird is that we only had lunchtime when I was a kid, never an afternoon snack. And yet, while the school requires a snack to be sent, one day when I sent a small (60 cal) box of raisins and a small (55 cal) bag of pretzels for snack, the teacher told my child that my child could only have "one serving of snack."
    My child could not have come up with those exact words, "one serving." I find this bizarre.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
  19. Anna

    I choose both:

    The government should provide resources but leave it up to parents how to use them.
    There should be mandatory nutritional training for all parents and children.

    HOWEVER as one person pointed out, if I'm going to pay for your health care, you better be eating all the fruits and veggies you can get your hands on and excerising daily.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • This is stupid

      You are not "paying for their health care". Maybe we are all paying health care taxes in general, but you are certainly not paying for anyone else's health care, anymore than they are paying for yours.

      And while we're on the subject, if you require them to eat nothing but fresh fruit and veg, you better be prepared to do exactly the same yourself.

      September 14, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  20. healthcare

    If I am forced to pay for healthcare for everyone, the government should force everyone to be healthy.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • L A

      We are all paying for healthcare already–just not the right kind! You're paying for ER visits for those who can't afford doctors, prescriptions for those who can't afford preventive meds, etc. My own 33 year old daughter now owes over $50,000 for medical bills because she started a new job and got very ill just prior to her insurance coverage kicking in! She has had medical insurance since birth, has worked since she was 14, and has managed her finances well–until now. She will take care of her medical bills, but it will take a very long time! Not everyone has the capabilities she has and would take them many, many years to pay that type of bill. Others might not be able to pay even a nominal amount if they are living on minimum wage and supporting a family. The median income in my hometown is about $36,000 per family! Try making that work for you before you judge others.

      September 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • amayda

      love it! thank you for putting it so simply!

      September 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  21. Joel Dockery

    Of course the government should control what people eat. Nutritional science is, after all, complete. All people are alike and should eat the same types and amounts of food because we all do the same physical things day in and day out and have the same genes. We should eat a low-fat, low-carb, low-protein diet. The food companies are conspiring to make us fat. It has nothing to do with our sedentary lifestyles.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  22. Ruth

    Parents don't own their children. If a parent is incapable of giving a child what it needs others have the right to step in, including the government. I feel sorry for children whose parents are incapable of teaching them correct eating habits. They are condemning them to a life of obesity and poor health. We absolutely should intervene and help those children. They can't help themselves. It ;s no different than taking a child away from a molesting parent.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  23. anw

    My probelm with government regulation is that it's not necessarily the FOOD that's the problem. It's the individual's poor choice/abuse of the food that is the problem.

    I'm in good shape and eat a balanced diet and workout often. So why should I have to pay heavy taxes if I want to splurge and go to McDonalds one day for lunch? What about the 2 or 3 trips to the ice cream parlor I allow myself every year? I shouldn't have my choices limited becase someone else chooses to have McDonald's for lunch and ice cream for dinner everyday.

    There has to be a better way.

    September 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • Ruth

      Why not have to pay the taxes once a month?

      The problem is that healthy food is expensive and junk food is cheap. Something needs to be done to change that. A tax on junk food with the money going to subsidize healthy food would help solve that problem. A lot of people don't eat healthy because they can't afford it.

      September 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  24. karen

    Why are our schools teaching dodgeball but not the truth about healthy eating, proper portions, calorie intake/outtake, etc? This should be a part of our public school curriculum. It wasn't until I was in college that I began to learn even basic facts about nutrition and diet- and my mother made a balanced meal most nights of the week while I was growing up!

    September 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  25. Mapple

    It may take a village to raise a child, but even the village should understand there are limits to what they can do. Advice and information is great, but just because your husband is the commander and chief does not make you an expert on what every child needs.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  26. Promote the general welfare!

    It is the government's job to promote health, as stated in the preamble of our own Constitution.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Rusty

      Yes... promote the general welfare... not PROVIDE for it.

      September 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  27. taxpayer

    the ones that will take advantage of it are those that don't really need it. personbal responsibility folks – stop relying on other people to push you in the right direction and realize the consequences of your actions.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
  28. taxpayer

    Providing the resources is silly. The ones that will most likely take advantage o

    September 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm |
    • taxpayer 1001

      Can the Government do something on removing all the artificial growth hormones, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors from our kid's food? It is damaging our kids! It is hurting us, the economy, our overall health. Once the government can stop all this crap from our food, than they can tell us what is healthy and what is not? Should we choose natural potato chips cooked in olive oil or pesticide free apples?

      September 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  29. Concerned

    The government already regulates what we eat in many ways (subsidies to farmers, WIC, assistance for school nutrition) – why not extend this order to make healthier food more accessible? I think the government should take stronger steps to make bad food more expensive – tax high fructose corn syrup so much that no one wants to buy it.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
  30. Observer

    Honestly, you can say all day long that you don't want the government to regulate your food choices, but if you want the government to pay for your healthcare for your diabetes, hypertension and morbid obesity – then I think they have every right to moderate your diet intake.

    Just saying....

    September 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  31. Mom4Change

    The government has absolutely no right to tell someone what they can put in their mouth. And I don't think the government should offer resources because that's not their role. I believe the resources should come from the nation's many health care organizations that have the expertise necessary to address health concerns.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
    • Brains4aChange

      You may want to read the preamble of the Constitution. The government is in fact obligated to promote the nation's general welfare. That's why we have the CDC, FDA, etc.

      September 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
    • Rusty

      Well said, Mom... there's a huge difference between promoting the general welfare and making stuff mandatory.

      Brains is obviously a statist who believes that the Federal government should do everything and force solutions onto people, rather than just set the conditions for success and let freedom-loving people enjoy their liberty and make choices for themselves. While he's busy quoting the preamble, apparently he forgot that the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed to citizens of our Republic as well.

      September 15, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  32. amayda

    For those who are against the government telling you what your kids can or cannot eat: If your kids are overweight, you as the parent have not been making responsible choices for your children and you need some intervention-style help. If your kids are healthy, you have no reason to assume that the government is going to come in and step on your toes. The fact is, there are a lot of children out there eating primarily mickey d's because the parents are too lazy (or are overworked due to too much debt) to make their kids a healthy meal or simply encourage them to exercise. I don't fault the food as much as I fault the inactivity of children these days. A rising majority are lazy and unmotivated due to a lack of proper discipline and upbringing. I am fully behind better/mandatory education for parents and children alike, and more exercise and sports for all skill levels in schools. To put things in perspective, we eat fast food probably 3-4 times a month, and we eat appropriately portioned sized meals at home. I don't deny my children (ages 5 & 2), or ourselves, treats/junkfood but it is always in moderation and paired with something healthy. We are all in the healthly range of the BMI scale and we are also all active outdoors as much as possible. We as a country need to push activity as much as we push healthy eating.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  33. Pat

    Feeding your children should be first and foremost a parental responsibility... But kids are going hungry and not eating over the weekend.. Something is very wrong with this picture!

    September 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Charlotte

      ...well when we, the People (i.e. the government) are forced to step in and help to feed those children, we are entitled to see to it that they get something healthy, not just filling garbage. Food Stamps should only work on fresh produce, whole grains and lean meats and dairy. You shouldn't be able to buy potato chips, fried chicken, doughnuts and candy bars on food stamps, nor should they be part of the school lunch program. It's the golden rule. He who dispenses the gold, makes the rules. In this case it's the height of stupidity and ignorance for people to object.

      September 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  34. Obese to Fit

    I believe that we really need a push to have healthier foods (lean protein, fruits, veggies) be the cheapest option and put a high tax on all the cr@p that is loaded with sugar, fat, and carbs to subsidize the cost. I went from 280 pounds to a muscular 190 at 6'1" and it is amazing how young and full of energy I feel at an athletic frame. High activity level and healthy eating is necessary to promote lean muscle mass to burn off and keep off the fat. Video games, TV, smartphones, internet, excessive sugar/bad diet, and too high of a caloric intake will cause even further problems with healthcare when you start having younger and younger people being treated with obesity related illnesses/problems. They are also getting robbed of proper muscle development at young ages and are bound to have joint and muscular/skeletal problems early in life let alone cardiac problems, type II diabetes, and the list goes on and on.

    September 14, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  35. Mattyp

    Have you seen how fat everyone is? Take a look around...watching all the fat kids walk into my child's school everyday is pathetic. And to think my tax dollars will have to pay to treat these people for diabetes which is totally avoidable. Sad

    September 14, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  36. Mother of 2

    Like it or not....Healthier food is more expensive. Fresh fruits and vegetables cost more and that can be hard on families with limited income. They have to get the most for what they have. Until nutritious food is cheaper than junk food that is the way it is going to be. On the flip son eats a lot but does not gain weight. He is an active child and burns a lot of calories yet people still look at us like we are bad parents. Overweight or skinny.....We're always judged.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      This reminds me of a report I read somewhere that accused McDonald's and the like of essentially preying on the low-income minority neighborhoods. How many white people do you see in their commercials these days? Not many. Hmm. Perhaps they were right?

      September 14, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jack

      Unfortunately, the reason that healthy foods are more expensive than unhealthy foods is because our government tends to subsidize the unhealthy foods at the expense of the healthy ones. Sounds backwards, right?

      September 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  37. Truth

    While it is very true that we have a national obesity epidemic these days, it is NOT the realm of gov't to cure this. It is due to the fact that kids today are more tuned into video games, internet and television than tehy are sports and outdoor activities (partly due to the fear of parents to let kids play outside, but that is a whole different episode of "Oprah")

    The gov't needs to stay out of this. Another power grab from Obama's Amerikkka.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants


      September 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
    • Denizen Kate

      Actually, the Obama administration is not behind this "power grab" as you so aptly put it. Blame health insurance companies and HMOs. Our health, good or bad, affects their bottom line, and as long as health care in America is a for-profit concern, we'll have more and more government interference in our lives, thanks to the insurance lobbies.

      September 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
      • Charlotte

        ...and YOUR comment, Denizen, doesn't even make sense at the stupidest level. Besides, you're just another fatty looking for some reason to cling to your ho-hos.

        September 14, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • Charlotte

      You couldn't be more bone-headedly wrong. It is EXACTLY the government's job and priviledge to dictate what goes into the school lunch program, since the government pays for it. Send your kid to school with a box full of poison, sure, fine, that's your prerogative. But how DARE you blather and whine about the government insisting that my tax dollars support healthy food rather than your disgusting diet.

      September 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
      • This is stupid

        They aren't YOUR tax dollars going to someone else eating badly. EVERYONE is paying taxes, not just you. If you were the one subsidizing the whole program, you could dictate what is done and how. It's not just you, it's everyone. Also, it's not everyone else BUT you benefiting from what happens with those tax dollars. You are too, just as much as anybody else. So unless you are perfect in every way and guarantee that you will never get sick, or old, you're in the same boat as everyone else.

        September 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
    • deathbydonuts

      Have to agree with Truth on this one... School lunch is a different thing, but as far as I can see this poll refers to every meal. I also think it's hard for an active child to get fat. All nutritional problems can be solved by getting omega-3s, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, D, and K! Pistachios are super nuts, salmon/halibut are super meats and beans are super foods! Milk is also helpful....

      September 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        Mmm. Halibut. Ever try poor man's Lobster? Boiled Halibut in a salt/sugar water mix. Dip in butter and enjoy.

        September 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
      • deathbydonuts

        really? That sounds awesome. I'm always trying to find new ways to cook halibut since it is so healthy yet such a boring food. I also love butter. Sounds like a good combination

        September 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        One version of it:,1745,149168-239197,00.html

        September 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • Artemis

      And your comment, Charlotte, may prove how dumbed down our political electorate is.

      The obesity epidemic did not start in 2008; however, cuts in funding for school lunches AND "special contracts" with large food suppliers have happened over the past dozen or so years. And as far as the insurance business: I've been getting treatment for two life-threatening illnesses (not related to weight!) for the past 15 years, and have been denied treatment, over and over, that has left my doctor pulling her hair out because these screens and treatments are cheaper in the long run than the expensive meds that my insurance company would rather reimburse rather than actually do something to fix the problem.

      September 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Sporkatus

      Oh yeah Truth, don't get me started! These kids probably have the most fit thumbs of any nation.

      September 15, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  38. Anna

    I don't yet have children but it scares me how much the government tries to raise everyone's children these days. When I do have children, I will be the mother and I will decide what is ok for them to eat, not some bureaucrat on a power trip. These bureaucrats have parents running scared now. Parents can't even discipline their children for fear of being sent to jail for abuse, and now kids just run rampant and have no respect for authority.

    I say BACK OFF! Let parents be parents.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
    • deathbydonuts

      What if by age 10 your kid is fat? Would you then have wished the government had given you discounts and/or education on healthier foods for your family?

      September 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
      • Liz

        If, by age 10, someone's child is fat, it won't be due to lack of information or help from many resources. There are posters and ads everywhere about how many fruits and veggies to have every day; labels with ingredients and food values; plenty of frozen, inexpensive and low cal/fat food available. If you can read and hear, you can make appropriate choices for your children. If the Gov. wants to give out more info, fine. But information and availability does not change things. Personal choice does. Observe the ridiculous number of teen pregnancies in this country vs 20 years ago. Yet there is now a record amount of information & birth control choices including not having sex, and information about std's. Why doesn't the government do something about this problem? How about increased taxes for the teens who have babies? It would defray some of the welfare costs they will probably be asking for. Including health care for their babies. Anytime you invite the government into your personal life and choices, after awhile it stops becoming your choice and becomes their law. No thanks.

        September 14, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
      • deathbydonuts

        Oh I agree that if by age 10 you're fat then something else is wrong besides poor nutrition, but that doesn't mean better nutrition wouldn't have helped. I also agree that the education is out there for parents who want to learn what to feed their children.

        Here's the problem: 3 McDs hamburgers are $3 and will feed a child, also $3 of frozen veggies and some frozen chicken will also feed a child, but when you factor in the time it takes to shop and cook, as well as the price of pots/pans it adds up.

        When I was a kid we weren't on a tight budget, so I was lucky there. But I also ate like shit, but turned out just fine. The government already has some procedures in place (food stamps, etc), but the problem is food stamps are now accepted at places like 7/11. Granted 7/11 has milk, and maybe one or two other nutritious foods, its a store filled with junk, and is ridiculously overpriced. Education also factors in to poverty, some people just don't know better or can't even understand the nutrition facts. Others have just given up on life and have decided to eat whatever. It's a problem

        September 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  39. Evil Grin

    As far as adding education programs to public schools, and providing resource options for healthy foods, the government is welcome to help out there.

    As far as taxing certain foods, fining or penalizing parents for overweight children or taking away options, though, I don't think the government should do that.

    Education and a friendly push in the right direction is all well and good, as long as we are able to make our own choices, good or bad. The over-criminalization of overweight people is getting old. People with eating disorders take some grief, but overall get sympathy and as much help as they're willing to receive. But on the other side of the spectrum, overweight folks get little sympathy or help. Mostly just a "you're a scourge on the human race. Stop eating fatty!" mentality. It's irritating to me.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • Charlotte

      So long as such a staggeringly high part of supporting the health issues of the nations fatties comes out of all our pockets, I think we collectively are entitled to encourage better behavior. Those claiming that the obesity epidemic is 'glands' are seeking excuses for bad behavior both in terms of food choices and exercise choice (or non-exercise). It's fine for the government to mandate that crap-food machines cannot be in schools, and that the heavily government subsidized school lunch program serve healthier lower-calorie and lower-fat foods than has been the norm. If the parents don't want their kids eating the good stuff, they can pack their own lunch of pork rinds and ding-dongs but our tax dollars shouldn't pay for that poison that causes us to spend more tax dollars for the triple-bypass surgery later.

      September 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
      • Jeff

        Then instead of getting more involved, how about not shouldering the poor decisions of everyone by getting rid of obamacare? I mean really, why are we supporting the health care of people who can afford to buy cell phone data plans, cable tv, and gym memberships. If they're buying those things because taxpayers pay their medical bills then we're saying they have a right to cable TV. It's time to leave this god-forsaken country.

        September 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
      • Michael

        I was listening to NPR and they were discussing a new study that shows that obese people are LESS of a burden on health care costs. The reason? They die before they rack up that much in health care cost. There may be one or two expensive hospital trips before they kick the (fried chicken) bucket, but in the long run someone who lives until 80 and has their regular check-ups & minor trips for bumps and bruises will end up costing more.

        September 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
      • Jim

        So much of life has no value. Take you would society be better off if you just killed yourself? Kids? Family? they are all part of the chain of pointless life that you are apart of. Do you contribute to anything or are you just another drain on resources. Do you advance science, art, technology anything. Perhaps this would be chance to truly go green.

        September 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
      • Adrienna

        Don't be so tunnel-visioned. "Obamacare" isn't only for obese people. There are those with cancer, the elderly, pregnancies, handicapped people, etc. Those things are not caused by your weight. It's frustrating to keep reading posts from all of you self-righteous health fanatics (and I can only assume that you are health fanatics because you are childishly calling people "fatties", etc. so you MUST be the perfect weight for you height and age with absolutely no health problems, right?). Yes, this country could certainly be in better shape physically. But we could also be in better shape intellectually, but I don't see any of you b*tching about that. The collective stupidity of this country is a much more alarming number than the collective obesity.

        September 14, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
      • Evil Grin

        See, that's exactly the attitude that I'm talking about.

        So, Charlotte, tell us about your family line. Perfect, huh? No alzheimers, dementia, heart problems, high blood pressue, stroke, epilepsy, cancer, asthma, or chronic illness of any kind through your whole family? If that's so, you're probably the luckiest family alive.

        If not, you are just as much a risk as anyone else, no matter your size, and you will end up costing the system just as much as your heavier counterparts.

        September 14, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Anne

      "As far as taxing certain foods, fining or penalizing parents for overweight children or taking away options, though, I don't think the government should do that. Education and a friendly push in the right direction is all well and good, as long as we are able to make our own choices, good or bad. "

      The government taxes cigarettes and it still took decades of lawsuits and education before the smoking levels significantly dropped. The increased cost was hardly a deterrent, and they still made bad choices.

      Junk food is the cheapest food available- even cheaper than the necessities- and it could stand to have a few taxes added to it to accomodate the increasing costs of an overweight population.

      September 14, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
      • Evil Grin

        ONLY if they simultaneously lowered the cost of healthy foods. Cigarettes are an unneeded extra everyone can live without. Taxing them does nothing but hurt the pocketbooks of those determined to afford it. Those who absolutely can't bum cigarettes off friends, or quit.

        You can't quit eating. If they're going to make the cheap food more expensive, they MUST lower the cost of other food. Otherwise they're only hurting those who are the most vulnerable anyway. If a person is struggling just to get any food on the table, even with food stamps, raising the price of unhealthy food that might make up their staples is only going to hurt them. Everyone else will complain and do what they want anyway.

        September 15, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  40. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    I concur with the "The government should provide resources but leave it up to parents how to use them" option.

    Also, I like caca.

    September 14, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • Tron

      I think fat kids are funny. Remember the fat kid from the Goonies. He had a great dance "Truffle Shuffle" that was legendary. More fat kids should learn that dance and everything would be just fine.

      September 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        I prefer "The Sprinkler".

        September 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
      • Aubrey

        What you fail to grasp is that back when we were kids (Goonies era), Chunk was fat. Nowadays, he is the norm. There is a HUGE problem.

        September 14, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
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