As 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama prepare to cede their titles to Donald Trump and Melania Trump respectively, citizens are increasingly worried about several initiatives of the Obamas that might not survive under the new regime. The most notable of Michelle Obama’s legacies that might not survive under the new president, who is a self-proclaimed fan of junk food, is the PHA or Partnership for a Healthier America.
During her eight years in Washington, First Lady Michelle Obama has been a strong and persistent advocate for several causes. However, the two issues closest to her heart have always been the improved education for girls around the world, and the cumulative health of their families. While the fate of the former is uncertain, the latter’s future is definitely uncertain under the new president, claim experts. During her final interview at the White House, the First Lady spoke candidly about many issues, including her husband’s legacy and whether he stayed true to a core belief. Moreover, she also spoke about several of her ongoing initiatives, and their future, especially after she leaves the White House in January.
Ms. Obama has been one of the few First Ladies who have spoken so openly about the need for consuming healthy food. In fact, she has earned the distinction of being America’s best-known advocate for healthy food, reported Reuters. First Lady Michelle Obama is the honorary chairwoman of a non-profit organization she helped create as first lady. The organization focuses on issues that have a deep impact on the health of Americans.
The organization, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), has made significant inroads in convincing food manufacturing companies to significantly improve the nutrition content of their products, as well as be more responsible with the labeling, so that families and schools can make a much more informed choice about what they are feeding their wards, said Larry Soler, president and chief executive of the group.
“Michelle Obama has been a tremendous leader in this space. That legacy is going to continue for a long time after this.”
Incidentally, even though Ms. Obama will be ceding the title of first lady to Melania Trump next month, her legacy as a prolific advocate for family nutrition will continue. Unfortunately, quite a few of the regulations that Michelle Obama fought for could be undone in the new regime. Lawmakers fear there would be fundamental changes when President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress take over on January 20.
Experts fear the new administration could start targeting school lunches and menu labeling standards that Ms. Obama worked hard to introduce reforms. One of Trump’s senior advisors had recently commented that the rules Ms. Obama had introduced, were “burdensome.” Furthermore, Donald Trump is a self-professed fan of junk food. While he has never tackled the issue publicly since the general elections, back when he was campaigning, he did make a broad promise to undo regulations on business.
Republicans had vociferously made their opposition clear while renewing elements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2015. Moreover, the House of Representatives had introduced legislation that critics strongly feel would significantly restrict the reach and potency of the program. For example, Republican Representative Todd Rokita from Indiana introduced legislation to overhaul the school lunch program this year. In his words, the legislation was to “make sure that the First Lady Michelle Obama-inspired nutrition standards are revised so that school food is more edible.” He also insisted on working towards introducing reforms of “burdensome new rules” with the new president, reported Fortune.
While nutrition experts do not have any confirmed response from Donald Trump about the healthy eating initiatives that First Lady Michelle Obama spearheaded, they are basing their fears on Trump’s personal eating habits, and his “anti-regulatory, anti-science rhetoric.”
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]