Tuesday, April 05, 2011

THE GOLDEN AGE OF CONCERN TROLLING. So Michelle Obama was talking about this childhood obesity thing:
US First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity took a personal turn when she said she is paying more attention to a key body fat measurement for her own daughters.

Obama said she was surprised to learn that her daughters' body mass index, or BMI, numbers were "creeping upwards," she wrote on yahoo.com's website.

"I didn't really know what BMI was," she said.

"I certainly didn't know that even a small increase in BMI can have serious consequences for a child's health," she added, recommending that all parents inform themselves about the vital weight statistic.
To rebut, ladies and gentlemen, TX Trendy Chick, whose "heart breaks for these little girls":
This is how distorted self-image and eating disorders come to be, Michelle. It’s bad enough when you’re picked on by the kids at school or the boy down the street, but to have your own mother leading the charge? Shame on you. President Obama has gone out of his way to address bullying and its consequences – what happens when the bully is the woman he’s married to and the victims are his own children? Words have power and they can cut so deep that the wound will never completely heal. I’ve been there; I know. And I know these children deserve better.
So I guess the next Tea Party thing will be to demand Sasha and Malia be removed from the White House by Child Protective Services, and placed with some nice hillbilly couple who will let them have Fudgsicles for dinner.

To be fair, George W never pulled this kind of thing on his own kids.

UPDATE. Some commenters are against BMI as a standard of health, an arguable point. This post is not about nutritional science, however, but about the TX Trendy Chick's accusations of child abuse against the First Lady, and by implication the thinking behind it.

Conservatives are generally crazy on this issue. You may have noticed the recent Matt Ridley Wall Street Journal editorial on "Free-Market Solutions for Overweight Americans," including "healthy living vouchers." Commentary has focused on the imagined efficacy or lack of same of such schemes, but no one says anything about the alleged non-free-market approaches Ridley wants to supplant:
School posters, virally marketed videos, healthy-eating classes, mandatory swimming lessons, minimum school-recess times, celebrity chefs in charge of school-meal recipes, bicycle lanes, junk-food ad bans, calorie-content labels, hectoring physicians, birthday-cake bans, monetary rewards for weight loss—they've all been tried, and they've all largely failed.
First of all, this list conflates foreign and domestic programs -- there is no U.S. ban on junk food ads, so far as I know -- and I don't know what the fuck he means by "mandatory swimming lessons" (phys ed, maybe?). Secondly, Ridley seems to think handing out government vouchers, which are worth money, is more "free-market" than tweaks to government advertising budgets, public school policies, etcetera. By the wingnut handbook definition, I guess, everything the (Democratic) government does, even at the most local level, is socialism, while the giveaways Republicans approve are free-market.

As for BMI, when the government moved to include these figures in children's vaccination records, conservatives cried double secret Hitler. We sane people can argue about the usefulness of the measurement and the psychology of health programs from children, but the conservative position on such matters is basically, "Black preznit wanna pour sociamalism on mah vittles."

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