With her permission, I reproduce here an open-letter to Sarah Palin from my friend Eve Parker
Dear Mrs. Palin,
I recently read about your objection to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative and the Child Nutrition Act . I am sure this is not the only letter you have received on this matter, but I am deeply concerned with your lack of interest in this issue. As an obese child to a family who were not the most educated or able to provide healthy meals, I relied heavily on my school district to provide me with the nutrients my developing body needed for breakfast and lunch, the two most important meals of the day. I received breakfast pizzas, buttered waffles, chicken fried steak, and corn dogs. Is this the adequate food choices you have been talking about?
CDC.gov highlights the obesity rate amongst children which has tripled in the last 30 years. They are expecting to watch this figure grow if no affirmative action is taken. Does this show how well our country is doing by leaving all meal planning in the hands of our parents when clearly children eat at school? According to “Fighting Obesity in the Public Schools,” children ages 6-15 consume one-third to one-half of their daily calories there. If parents are left completely responsible for their children’s food choices, does that honestly allow schools to turn a blind eye and serve children what is proven to clog arteries, increase risk of high blood pressure, and effect cognitive functions?
Wiping your hands clean of this issue since you feel we have bigger issues and assuming all American families are willing and able to provide their children with a well balanced meal is foolish. “Support parental choice for what is best for their children,” sounds like you are playing it safe. Why not intervene and join forces with Michelle Obama when in 2007 researchers from Harvard Medicine School’s showed nearly 1 out of every 5 children are considered either overweight or on their way to becoming obese? Do not assume everyone understands what a serving size is or what an adequate amount of protein is, let alone how much Vitamin A a child needs. I believe too many parents are more concerned with convenience when planning meals rather than the nutrients their children are getting from their diet. I also think it is reasonable to consider child obesity as a form of child abuse, seeing as how disregarding the health and future of your child is neglect. Just because your children didn’t suffer from it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening Mrs.Palin.
If your focus is on the future and making our country optimal and efficient, why do you not care about the future generation and their well being? I can hear your contagious laugh as you read this, but truly that is what you are doing when you scoff at the First Lady’s efforts. Obesity is amongst the top preventable disease affecting our country today. If we do not have healthy children it decreased their chances of being healthy adults, and without healthy adults we do not have a fully functioning society.
I find it sad that a 24 year old Nutrition major has to even write such logic to a well-educated politician. I employ you to reconsider your narrow-minded attitude toward this country’s children. A quote by an unknown author exemplifies the problem with nutritional education “An educational system isn't worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn't teach them how to make a life.”