First Lady Michelle Obama has become known as the nation’s food cop for escalating the need to improve school nutrition. She’s banned sugar and all forms of junk food while including more vegetables and fruit. Recently, her childhood obesity battle has expanded to improving Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs. But a seemingly minor decision involving the humble potato has blown up into the political perfect storm, reported the New York Times.
The tater tot tempest began when the Obama Administration excluded white potatoes from the approved food list for beneficiaries of the WIC program. For states where potatoes are a valued cash crop, that exclusion was viewed as an example of the First Lady’s label as an overly zealous food cop.
In response to their constituents’ concern, politicians promptly took action. And when she discovered that 11 Democrats from states where potatoes thrive put their signatures on a letter from Republicans that opposed the white potato ban, Michelle Obama was irate, revealed The Daily Caller.
Powering up her political prowess to protest the potato proponents, the First Lady has declined to help those Democrats campaign. She also has made a point of ignoring some Democrats’ distaste for her “no junk food” program for school kids. The new Smart Snacks standards, for example, includes limits on sugar, fat and sodium for all schools sold at school, including fundraising treats such as cupcakes.
To add muscle to her “Let’s Move” program, the First Lady has shared her healthy eating wisdom on TV shows ranging from the Rachael Ray Show to Sesame Street. But she’s wise to the ways of the media, and to ensure a slam-dunk in publicizing her programs, Obama enlisted members of the Miami Heat, as shown in the video below.
As the Inquisitr pointed out, Michelle Obama has constantly scoffed at criticism. In addition to appearing on numerous television shows to promote her “Let’s Move” campaign, the First Lady wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that attacked the attempts to undermine her efforts.
“Right now, the House of Representatives is considering a bill to override science by mandating that white potatoes be included on the list of foods that women can purchase using WIC dollars. Now, there is nothing wrong with potatoes. The problem is that many women and children already consume enough potatoes and not enough of the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables they need. That’s why the Institute of Medicine — the nonpartisan, scientific body that advises on the standards for WIC — has said that potatoes should not be part of the WIC program.”
But others say that the First Lady has made a significant difference in raising awareness about what constitutes good nutrition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that childhood obesity rates have declined for some age groups.
What do you think? Is the First Lady playing the role of the Cookie Monster, or is she helping battle childhood obesity with good nutrition?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]