Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke passionately at the annual Building a Healthier Future Summit, proving that despite being out of office, she plans to remain active in the fight against childhood obesity.
This comes just more than a week after Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a proclamation relaxing nutrition standards for the upcoming school year. This proclamation specifically considers salt, in which schools will no longer have to meet the strictest standards for lowering sodium content, milk, in which schools will be permitted to serve one percent flavored milk as opposed to fat free and whole grain, in which states will be allowed to grant an exemption for schools struggling to meet the previously held standards.
Perdue justified his proclamation in a news release, noting that it rose out of “years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals.”
The former first lady had an impassioned response.
“You have to stop and think, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school? What is wrong with you, and why is that a partisan issue?’” Obama said at the summit, which was hosted by the Partnership for a Healthier America group dedicated to battling obesity.
Obama’s association with this group comes as no surprise, as the former first lady rallied her resources behind the childhood obesity epidemic and launched a successful Let’s Move! campaign to excite children about the concepts of health and fitness. Many of the standards the agriculture secretary now plans to change were championed by Obama while her husband was in office.
While at the summit, Obama often called on the emotions of parents in regards to this issue—focusing on the health benefits for children rather than the potential financial implications. “Moms, think about this. I don’t care what state you live in. Take me out of the equation; like me, don’t like me, but think about why someone is OK with your kids eating crap,” Obama said.
Photo: Sodexo USA, CC-BY
Emma Korstanje is a freelance journalist based out of Athens, GA.