No Fat Kids!

Michelle Obama's misguided war on childhood obesity


No offense, but the next time I hear Michelle Obama lecture me about feeding kids locally farmed kumquats, I'll be forced to pile my family into an SUV and hit the Burger King drive-through just to snap my psyche back into proper equilibrium.

As hard as I try, there is no evading the first lady's maternal gaze—or her magic organic vegetable garden—these past few weeks as she zigzags the media landscape talking about her anti-childhood-obesity campaign, Let's Move.

Who better to offer guidance on lifestyle choices than politicians and their charming spouses? Washington is, after all, pooling $1 trillion to pay for the nation's health care needs. Isn't it only fair that someone started harassing kids who are too stout to pull their weight?

And if Washington can't dictate calorie counts in school vending machines or tax soda pop or force elementary schools in Topeka to stock their cupboards with USDA-approved nutritional fare, then, really, why do we have a federal government in the first place?

As we speak, legislation is wiggling through Congress that would ban candy and sugary beverages in schools—bake sales, a la carte lunches, Halloween goodies, birthday cupcakes—and stipulate that suitable chow be offered. It's legislation that can't be stopped. It's for the children.

Michelle Obama—no doubt driven by the best of intentions—went on to take food manufacturers to task, asking them to "rethink the products" they produce, because business, apparently, should be a clearinghouse for ethically sound groceries rather than a place that manufactures frozen pizza.

The first lady says there is a lack of "accessibility and affordability," as so many Americans reside in "nutritional wastelands" found in urban and rural areas (the latter, one gathers, filled with farms), with no access to supermarkets. "Some 23.5 million Americans—including 6.5 million children—currently live in food deserts," claims the Let's Move site.

This fantasy quickly evaporates when one learns that the average American spends a mere 7 percent of his or her annual income on food (the lowest percentage in the world). That average person has an amazingly rich and diverse array of nutritious foods from which to choose. In addition, it turns out that there are very few "food deserts" in states that have the highest levels of obesity in the nation.

This week, I sat down in an editorial board meeting with Kevin Concannon—USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services—a friendly and well-spoken authoritarian who effortlessly dismissed the idea of local parental and school control over kids. The problem is just too big, he explained.

Concannon did, however, speak enthusiastically about one day banning commercials that the administration finds are simply inappropriate for kids to be watching, such as cereal ads. Too flashy. Too much sugar.

But he can't do it alone. In a recent meeting with Cabinet members and congressional leaders, Michelle Obama said, "It's going to require us working together—not just the administration but Congress, governors, mayors, parents, teachers."

You see, it's not just the administration that has a responsibility to tend to your children's nutrition. Parents also are going to have to play a role—after, you know, Congress, governors, and mayors.

It seems, in fact, that in the fight against obesity, we pin the blame on every bugaboo available except the one that deserves the responsibility.

Who knows, maybe it's parents—not the Fruit Loops toucan or vending machines or corporate greed or even a lack of laws—who hook kids on insalubrious foods.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at


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  1. We must feed our children organic produce.

    That way, they’ll get protein, too, from all the insects that the natural pesticides didn’t get rid of.

    1. As well as all the bacteria and fungi. Oh, and animal waste too.

  2. That pic cries out for alt-text. Oh, and it’s racist, of course.

    1. Obviously, she just gave birth to Bono. He currently weighs 9.5 courics.

      1. That works, FTW!

  3. Am I going to have to start sneaking around and eating my Cocoa Puffs in the dark before my 3-year-old daughter wakes up lest she catch me in the act and demand a bowl herself?

    1. “I learned it from watching you!”

      Seriously, how long before the anti-junk food ads parody the anti-drug ads?

      1. Sorry, not parody, but rather ape.

        1. Tea-baggers see a picture of Michelle Obama and then start making ape comments.

          Flat out racist.

          1. Hilarious. You got me until I saw the name. Are you the guy that does Obama at times? THAT was genius.

      2. “”Seriously, how long before the anti-junk food ads parody the anti-drug ads?””

        Have you seen the NY anti-soda ads?

          1. I’ve seen posters of 2 liter bottles filled with fat. I don’t think I’ve seen TV commercials.

          2. The link is above

              1. I shouldn’t have asked. I feel dumber for having watched that bullshit.

    2. Demand a bowl? She’ll rat you out to the Michelle Brigades rep at school.

    3. Looks like we have rather similar experiences with 3-year-olds, except mine involves a sea captain and his delicious puffy corn cereal.

      I seriously have to hide the stuff in a different container and sometimes he still knows it’s there. What am I supposed to do, start eating grape nuts?

      1. Your not talking cereal confectionary unless your talking Count Chocula, which has been scientifically proven to lead to cereal murderers

  4. And the burrito is revealed!

    1. Are you happy to see me or is that an obviously racist metaphor?

      And you shouldn’t be eating burritos, here have some squash (in your ass).

      1. Thank you Shelly O for saving us from the food desert. I have been forced to live on pork rinds and KFC for too many years. If only an apple could be had…

  5. C’mon, there is nothing funnier than a fat kid. Wheezing as he waddles across the schoolyard, playmates bouncing off as they try to tackle him, letting loose sour empty-calorie farts when he tries to run, hilarious stuff. Overdub Baby Elephant Walk and it’s YouTube gold!

    1. If it weren’t for childhood obesity, we wouldn’t have the Truffle Shuffle!



  6. Nutritionists no longer even claim to know what is good for you (except those with a book currently in press). A lot of emerging research is starting to overturn about a decade worth of misinformation on antioxidants. Just a few years ago, bread and pasta formed the base of the food pyramid; then we went through a phase where we were told those were the worst possible foods. And everybody is aware of the near daily flip-flop on eggs.

    Since we really don’t even know what is “best” for us, how about Michelle Obama eats what she wants, and I’ll keep eating toaster strudels for breakfast and frozen pizza for dinner.

    1. So Thomas, tell us what your lipid profile is with your high-carb/high-fat diet? Because that’s where the proof in the pudding is.

    2. Food isn’t complicated………if it grows naturally you should eat it……if it’s made up of stuff you can’t pronounce…..don’t. Reliable information on food is also not hard to find – google “raw food lifestyle” and discover the best way to eat healthy. The way I see it, America has three major problems with the way we eat. The first is we (especially younger americans) have a specious relationship with food. We don’t make time to think about something we put in our bodies 3-5 times a day, and certainly don’t consider the long term consequences. Secondly, when we do start to research food, it becomes impossible to make sound food choices due to a continual manipulation of common phrases such as “all natural” or “provides x vitamins as part of a balanced breakfast” used on food labels. This a direct consequence of the food industry working with washington to allow this type of messaging on packaging and in advertisements. Both entities also keep the focus on “calories” rather than ingredients making it harder to identify a truly healthy meal (ex: A low fat/low cal granola bar seems like a healthy choice until you read the 30 chemicals it in). Lastly, when enough good information has been discovered, it becomes near impossible to actually buy real food. Most supermarkets offer very little organic produce, meat and dairy with hormones, and non-perishables with enough chemicals to last a millennia etc. Low prices are also a direct result of government subsidies on corn and soybeans, which make up 90% of what is sold in most american grocery stores. The result is health conscious foodies need to travel farther to find real food and pay a seemingly higher price. However, in the long run paying more to eat properly is a health investment to avoid hospitals, major operations and disease in the future.

      1. What do you mean “we?” white man.

      2. Good luck cooking a dinner with only things you can ‘pronounce’. Unless you’ve grown it yourself, this is impossible today.

        1. Hmm… apparently my dinner last night of chicken (which I did not raise myself) and spinach (which did not come from my garden, as I haven’t planted this year’s garden yet) was totally imaginary.

          You seem totally out of touch with reality. Maybe getting cooking skills beyond pushing buttons on a microwave could be of use to you.

      3. Our bodies have evolved to the point where a raw food diet isn’t even that healthy for us. Sometimes you need certain supplements and enzymes that are released only by cooking in some form or another.

  7. “Some 23.5 million Americans?including 6.5 million children?currently live in food deserts,” claims the Let’s Move site.

    How many Americans live in thought deserts?

    1. Almost 300 million of them.

    2. “Some 23.5 million Americans?including 6.5 million children?currently live in food deserts,” claims the Let’s Move site.

      Nothing will cure the lack of grocery stores like banning or taxing their high-margin, high-demand product lines.

      1. My mommy shops at the Shell station.
        They have the best pickled sausages. And beer.
        Nap time.

  8. “Eat plenty of fiber, kids, or your turds could look like this!”

  9. Look at the size of the tuber on that poor woman!

    1. It’s not a tuber.

      1. I like.

  10. Here’s what’s next for the NYC nanny patrol.…../index.xml

    “”City Council President Christine Quinn is considering a change to city zoning law to slow the proliferation of fast-food joints in neighborhoods with high obesity rates.””

    1. It’s times like this that I wish it wasn’t wrong to beat the shit out of some of these folks.

      1. Wrong and illegal are not the same thing.

        1. Word.

      2. Hey, the Libertarian non-agression pledge states “the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.” So looks to me as if it IS OK for purely personal reasons.


      3. Illegal and wrong aren’t the same thing.

    2. I can hardly wait for the lawsuit claiming that this will have a disparate impact on predominantly black/South Sea Islander neighborhoods.

      Christine Quinn is a racist, trying to redline the ghettos.

      1. I think we should give these neighborhoods more money. After all, it’s for the kids.

  11. I think no matter what Obama does whether good or bad, the conservatives/libertarians will say it’s bad.

    Obama could have come out nullified every nanny law and their would still be a bunch of white idiots (and their uncle tom friends) on TV claiming that they want their country back

    1. Since Obama has shown no inclination to reduce the scope of government intrusion into our lives, we’ll never know, will we?

    2. I think…

      [citation needed]

    3. You can see into alternate realities? Cool. What’s it like in the one where you have a brain?

    4. “Obama could have come out nullified every nanny law and their would still be a bunch of white idiots (and their uncle tom friends) on TV claiming that they want their country back”

      I actually usually argue with people, no matter how dumb what they say is, as I don’t want them walking away pretending that they got the better of the debate. However, I’m actually speechless at the stupidity of this comment.

      1. +2

    5. Well, if you will kindly point to an example of Obama doing something libertarians could support, I promise I won’t say it’s bad.

    6. Actually, if he nullified every nanny law, I’d stick a statue of him on my lawn.

      Sadly, this will never happen. So, your argument is kind of pointless.

      1. RACIST!

        1. Goddammit, I have nothing against gnomes, but don’t you know how creepy you fuckers look hiding in the shadows at night?

          Thanks for making me almost spit my tea all over my keyboard.

      2. Will that statue look like a jockey?

        Oh, and RACIST!

        1. I was more thinking a visionary pose in front of some bronze teleprompters.

          Wait, according to my Liberal Crucifixion of the Opposition handbook, jockey is a racist term!


          1. Both RACISTS! By Oden, I will feed you to the Trolls! And those nose-pickers are very hungry!

            1. Are you saying trolls have big noses?! ::points!:: RACIST LAWN GNOME!

    7. “Uncle Tom”? Like so many on the Left, you believe a person is required to conform to your beliefs merely because they have more melanin.

      1. Yeah, that was the point I was going to make.

    8. Thanks – we needed that!

      1. The argument is much like it was for home ownership. For years and years we heard how the big bad banks weren’t lending to enough low income and minority households. Then it was there was too much lent to the households.

    9. Itchy Puss wins the stupidity of the day award. What a freaking twit.

  12. Who knows, maybe it’s parents?not the Fruit Loops toucan or vending machines or corporate greed or even a lack of laws?who hook kids on insalubrious foods.

    I blame the kids. We raised 2, one plays sports and eats a very healthy diet by choice, the other spends the day on a computer and eats junk food. We kept the same food in the house, gave them the same example of eating a good diet, etc. They are two different kids and have been since birth.

    1. It’s too much freedom, stuartl. Freedom is no good. Children have too many choices. Choices are bad, like in health care. Obviously the sharp decline in life expectancy in this country over the past 50 years is a strong indication of this. We can change this freedom nonsense, but it will have to be done at the top. I have a lot of Hope in this much needed Change.

      1. You make a great point! The fattest kids I’ve ever known were also the MOST HIGHLY CONTROLLED by their parents. (Rules, covering every itsy-bitsy little aspect of their little lives). I suspect that what these kids stuffed into their mouths, when no one was looking, was the sole aspect of their lives that they enjoyed any control over!

  13. ‘As we speak, legislation is wiggling through Congress that would ban candy and sugary beverages in schools?*bake sales* . . .’

    It will be a great day when the Air Force gets all the bombers it needs, so that we can bomb all those unhealthy bake sales the schools keep having.

    1. My grandson’s school requires recipes to be provided with all items for a school bake sale so they can calculate percent sugar, fat, etc.

      You can’t just grab a box cake and the store and make something anymore.

      1. That’s what they tell you. Just wait, they will shortly be releasing a cookbook featuring all those “Grandma’s secret” dessert recipes.

  14. So is the “No Fat Chicks” bumper sticker coming back in style?

    1. Yes, but it will read (pending approval of the Let’s Move Citizen’s Committee for Verbal Fairness): NO DISADVANTAGED WEIGHT-CHALLENGED GENDER-NEUTRAL VICTIMS.

  15. Ever since Lady Bird tried to cajole me into planting a tree, shroob or bush I’ve religiously ignored first ladies’ pet issues.

    BTW Michelle, Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate chips straight from the bag are delicious. Every child should filch a pacjage from the cupboard and wolf them down when Mom isn’t looking.

    1. Is a shroob an example of Scottish shrubbery?

      1. It was Lady Bird’s pronunciation.

      2. Ni!

    2. I still call it Town Lake, not Lady Bird Lake. Keep it weird–except for lake naming.

    3. J sub D, good thing you didn’t “just say no.”

    4. Clearly your’re not from California and don’t shop at Costco. You haven’t had chocolate chips from a bag until you’ve had Ghiradelli chocolate chips. Nestle’s just doesn’t taste right anymore.

  16. That woman wears some of da ugliest sweaters!

  17. The current “obesity epidemic” is largely thanks to government idiocy. The cottage industry of studies touting low-fat, high-carb diets proliferated largely thanks to government research grants. Meanwhile, none dare mention the USDA Food Pyramid, which is basically a blueprint for obesity. Take your lead-tainted potatoes and shove them up your ass, Michelle.

    1. I agree the food pyramid has been an utter disaster. Does Michelle favor ending all the corn subsidies, which are the main reason HFCS is in everything these days?

      1. Pyramids are racist, since they were built by slaves.

        1. Wouldn’t they be anti-semitic?

          1. potayto/potahto?

          2. Oy, why do the pyramids have to hate the schvartzes so much?

          3. Except that they wern’t actually built by slaves.

          4. Whoa, don’t you know that “anti-semitic” is itself an anti-semitic term as it disenfranchises Arabs who are themselves Semitic?

            1. Disenfranchises?

              Here’s your assignment: go to and look up that word.

        2. Yes, and they are a pyramid scheme.

      2. Exessive corn farming is the root of the problem. Corn yeilds quite a bit of HFCS cheaply. Economically its a gold mine, however, cheap sugar leads to products which can be sweeter, cheaper, making them much more abundant. If sugar were more expensive…
        Bottom line, corn is huge.

        Also, can you guess why ethanol is such a big choice for an alternative fuel?

        1. MrGuy|4.7.10 @ 7:40PM|#
          “….Also, can you guess why ethanol is such a big choice for an alternative fuel?…”

          Because of those darn free-market farmers?

        2. Gee, given the evils of HFCS and how widely such evils are discussed, I wonder why there are no alternatives? Oh, there they are, there’s a whole shelf of them. Guess we had better ban HFCS – is that where you are heading??

          1. No strawman, it isn’t.

  18. “Michelle Obama?no doubt driven by the best of intentions…”

    “No doubt,” Mr. Harsanyi? I’d repeat the old saw about hell and paving procedures and good intentions, but perhaps Mizz Michelle is driven by nothing more than old-fashioned power-lust? It’s the Chicago Way.

    1. Nah. I think she’s driven by decades of impacted anger and resentment instilled in her by Marxist/academic racialists and the collision between her own self-hatred and her struggles with her own weight.

      For these people, everything is always about them.

      1. +8

    2. I thought she was driven by a government employee.

  19. I was skinny as a kid, and that was with the “fattening” foods of the past. Now M. Obama wants kids to eat even less? I’m going to have to give my kids Twinkies to bring to school so they don’t get too thin. Of course, that would probably break the “zero fat tolerance policy”.

  20. What we need is for Michelle to keep quiet. Women should be seen and not heard anyway…especially the black ones.

    I’m sure all of you would be much happier if we just close the FDA and stop requiring food manifacturers from putting labels alltogether.

    I (and many americans) don’t. That’s why I’m for splitting the country in half. The conservatives/libertarians can move down south and leave the progressives up north. We’ll deal with the horrors of the regulations. You guys can keep your profit-motivated ideas and loose all of the food/regulations.

    1. Can’t we do it East/West instead? I don’t like the heat.

      1. *revenge of the aborted joke handle*

      2. Since the progressive utopia of Canada is North of US, the “cool” people already have a “cool” place to go.

        No further split is needed.

        1. I’m looking for a cool climate without the progressive utopia part though.

    2. Close the FDA? Maybe break off the parts that are unnecessary. I was prescribed Vicodin, which the FDA will soon be taking off the shelves because people OD’ed. I don’t know about you, but I think it should be up to ME what I consume. They also explicitly stated that people taking Tylenol with their Vicodin was a major factor in their decision. To not take Tylenol is on the label and in the pamphlet that comes with your meds. If reading 10 pages isn’t worth your own health or life, you get what you get. The government can’t do enough to protect stupid people, but they do too much in screwing over people who can look out for themselves.

    3. What we need is for Michelle to keep quiet. Women should be seen and not heard anyway…especially the black ones.

      Project much?

    4. I’m for east and west. You go west, we’ll keep the east. The new Washington DC can be the land of nanny laws known as San Fran.

      1. Can Alaska become its own country then?

        1. Alaska and Hawaii should become their own country complete with giant bridge.

    5. Sounds good.

      As long as we don’t have to pay for your half.

    6. Holy shit, Itchy Puss (you ought to get some vagisil and bitter-be-gone, btw) is on to something.

      We should divide the country up into regions, let’s call them states, and people can elect nanny assholes in their states, or not, and let the federal government resume the responsibilities and role for which it was intended. No, no. Scratch that. That’s a dumbass idea.

      Give us another, Itchy. I know: how about if we federally mandate that all public schools serve the kids smart pills? FDA approved, of course. I guess the only problem would be the unintended consequence of critical thinking. That would fuck up the Progressives’ voting base.

      1. Actually Hank, I’d love it if we did get rid of the Federal Government altogether and ONLY state law prevailed. I’ll be perfectly fine with NY State residents not have to pay for Wars, Israel, and all the other bullshit we pay for.

        1. Why aren’t you advocating for it, then?

        2. You know, if we had federal socialized medicine, you could go to the gynecologist and have that itchiness taken care of.

          1. Actually, I’d rather get rid of the Federal Government and live in a state with socialized medicine.

            1. There’s one right next door.

        3. At least you’re right in this one respect.

        4. You do realize that New York has a ton of Zionists residing within it’s borders. So you would probably be sending money to Israel.

        5. I’m with Itchy Puss. I’m tired of my money going to support a bunch of dirty hook-nosed Jews.

          ???? ????

        6. Well I think the feeling is mutual, as there are plenty of Americans who don’t want to pay for New York’s overextended state budget, same as California’s. Why don’t you worry about getting your own house in order before you start making complaints that you can’t back up.

    7. Let’s just pen the liberals up in the big cities and the other 98% of the country can act sensibly.

      1. We make up more than 2% of the U.S.A. population buddy-boy. And, we have the most money.

        1. Wow – your serious

        2. Take some of that money and get a brain transplant, idiot.

    8. “Itchy Puss|4.7.10 @ 5:37PM|#”

      Or ignoramus?
      I need to get my sarcasm meter checked.

      1. I know, I was having a hard time figuring that out last night, myself.

        Either he/she/it is a really bad troll, completely schizo and talks out of both sides of his/her/its mouth in the same sentence, or just plain dumb. I’m not sure which.

    9. Oh my God! I didn’t realize I was being a subconscious racist! Thanks for pointing it out! I’ll never question Michelle Obama again!


    10. Hey IP, we don’t need to split the country in half… you could just move to Haiti or Cuba (or NY City)

    11. North Korea’s always there. The forced labor brigades and the one bowl of rice they give you will help keep you trim too!

  21. Dude that is really cool. Never thought about it that way before.


  22. Damn, Harsanyi. Outright racism and homophobia.

    Bugaboo and Fruitloops? Could you be anymore obvious than that. I just flipped through my handy Liberal Code Words For Discrimination Dictionary and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Nanny up, mf, nanny up!

    1. I just spit grape soda all over my keyboard.

      1. Grape soda? More code words! Let me guess, some of your best friends are Canadians.

        1. If “Canadians” is code for “Australians”.

          1. As long as Australians stands for Hawaiians.

        2. Nope. Never met wylie.

    2. “Liberal Code Words For Discrimination Dictionary”? I thought that WAS the the dictionary.

  23. I believe Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and the Dakotas would like a word with you about being stuck in Nannystan.

  24. All she’s doing is asking nicely. Surely there’s nothing statist about that.

    But for god’s sake an entire generation of children is growing up with diabetes. There are causes other than their parents being spontaneously more lazy and irresponsible than parents were before.

    1. And when asking nicely doesn’t work I’m sure she won’t resort to sterner measures.

    2. Really? An entire generation?

    3. Mine aren’t. This might be because I am actually parenting them.

      1. They really dont do any parenting in Illinois, or Detroit for that matter.

        1. It’s a Stupid epidemic!

    4. All she’s doing is asking nicely. Surely there’s nothing statist about that.

      How long until we get F.A.R.E?

      an entire generation of children is growing up with diabetes.

      Maybe they should ask diabetes to get a job and move out.

      Funny, my kids aren’t diabetic. None of their friends are either. Maybe they’re hiding.

      1. You thought they were locking themselves in the bathroom to masturbate. Nope. They’re in there shooting up insulin.

        1. DON’T COME IN!

      2. I suspect that the genetics associated with diabetes also happen to be the genetics of the largest “immigrant” population flooding into the US over the past few decades.

        1. There is truth to that PL. However, per capita, Native Americans rank highest in Type 2 DM @ 2.8% the overall rate.

          Blacks range from 1.4 to 2.2%.

          Hispanics are twice as likely to develop Type 2 DM than non-hispanics, with Cubans having the lowest inherent risk.

          1. Why is insulin racist?

    5. Tony|4.7.10 @ 5:50PM|#
      “All she’s doing is asking nicely. Surely there’s nothing statist about that.”

      Yep. That gun under the guy’s coat is just to make sure her ‘nice request’ is met with approval.
      Do we have a gullibility prize? I think Chony may own it.

      1. What awful tyranny is Michelle Obama secretly intending to deploy on us? Requiring public schools to serve bananas instead of poison crap? They’ve already got our children’s minds under the grip of socialism. Might as well add their bodies.

        1. Well, we can always count on Tony to defend the Obamas… Moron.

    6. Three kids here and no diabetes and we have a family history of diabetes.

      I guess god is starting to look favorably and libertarians and is blessing them with good health.

      1. BTW – we also have a family history of alcholism which explains my poor spelling – god please help me with my spelling!

    7. There are causes other than their parents being spontaneously more lazy and irresponsible than parents were before.

      How about everyone is more lazy and irresponsible because of the cradle-to-grave welfare state.

      We’ve raised whole generations who can’t think for themselves or take care of themselves without government help. The government has been changing thier diapers since they were born and doesn’t seem likely to stop, so who should they learn to use the toilet?

      1. Then again France has a much bigger welfare state and everyone there is thin and healthy. Except the ones eating McDo.

        Maybe the welfare state isn’t the cause of every evil in the world just because it’s there for you to blame.

        1. Then again France has a much bigger welfare state and everyone there is thin and healthy.

          [Citation Please.]

          1. It’s because they smoke.

        2. Actually, France has an obesity problem:

          But the slightly thinner population might have something to do with their smoking rates.


          1. Yes, France is getting fatter because they are adopting mass-produced American-style “cuisine,” just as I said.

            1. I think not. Authentic French food is laden with cheese and fat.
              It’s not particularly healthy.

              1. Right, but it’s served in healthy portions.

                1. Perhaps not these days.

                  The French are getting fatter, because food is becoming cheaper and more available. Not because they’ve adopted “American” eating habits.
                  They’ve probably also gotten more sedentary. Big factor we’re ignoring.

            2. Tony, apparently has never eaten a single French dish in his life…

              He should go online and look up “mother sauces” and make note of how many begin with the all-important French ingredient: Butter.

              1. So what are you trying to say? That food is not causally related to obesity? I don’t get it.

                I guess I’ve won the debate about whether the welfare state causes obesity then?

          2. I still don’t see a causation in your correlation with the welfare state.

            1. Then you’re a retard… But I guess we all already knew that.

          3. Nor a correlation for that matter.

          4. I also hear that french babes don’t shave their pits…

  25. It’s not the food. Schools need extended physical education periods. Get those little fat fuckers off their asses and make them do laps.

    1. My opinion is that if they cut the school day in half, and then set ’em loose. The kids would spend that freed up time running around like the little maniacs they are, rather than sitting still and keeping quiet (both of which burn fewer calories than normal activity and speech).

      Of course this would interfere with the “day care” aspect of schooling, and while we’re certain that child obesity is an “epidemic”, it’s not one we’re willing to do anything about if it inconveniences us slightly.

      1. Given the choice most kids would spend the extra time staring slack jawed at the TV or playing video games.

        1. Not in my experience.

          Most would rather dive off of garage roofs. In my experience it’s the _parents_ and to an extent the _teachers and school administrators_ that prefer “safe” activities.

          Unfortunately “safe” activities tend to burn fewer calories than riding bicycles off of ramps or climbing 40 foot high trees.

          Given a choice between doing structured calisthenics in the backyard and playing video games, the kids will choose video games. Given the choice between video games and running wild unsupervised through the neighborhood, “Lord of Flies” wins every time.

          1. love airsoft running and gunning for hours.

            1. You let your children run around shooting guns at eachother???

              I need an ATF team sent in immediately over here! We have another conservative militia cultist radical conservative right-wing militia radical over here!!

  26. Who doesn’t love the fat kid? C’mon!

    This is some stupid stuff. Look, I can understand tweaking “food policy” in ways libertarians may agree with me on (like ending subsidies to make “high frutcose corn syrup” so cheap) or not (restricting certain food ads aimed at kids). But all in all fat kids are not some insane crisis. This is just the usual meddlesome seemingly politically safe crap that First Ladies do (like “fighting illiteracy” or what not).

    1. Yeah. If my wife were President I don’t think I’d be getting any points if I advocated teaching children to shoot beer cans in the back garden while drinking Kentucky rye, as fun as that may be.



  27. I will say this: many people say, hey the kids like these fattening foods, it’s their choice, it’s what they like man. If that is so then you shouldn’t bitch about restricting ads for such foods because, hey, the kids are still going to choose what they “naturally” like, right? It’s silly to think advertising has no effect: all those ad dollars spent annually suggest otherwise…

    I’m with you on adults being able to resonsibly sort out ads and make their own choices. I oppose any such restrictions. But I’ve got kids man, they are easily mislead by the dumbest ads. I mean, this is why we don’t let kids make contracts and call it “voluntary.”

    1. I’ve got a kid too, but he doesn’t do his own grocery shopping. Doesn’t matter how bad the ads make him want sugar-coated bacon fat and crack, we don’t buy it.

      1. Your kid will probably at some time in his life have money and the choice of food products. Just saying.

        1. Yep, and despite our best efforts to teach about proper eating and whatnot odds are he’ll spend the years 18-25 or so eating nothing but crap, just like most people. I’m not that concerned that he’ll be left a helpless slave to a lucky charms commercial he saw as a child, and if he does turn out to be that weak-willed then he’ll have bigger problems facing him than his choice of breakfast cereal.

    2. This is why I don’t let my kids watch TV that has lots of targeted advertising, too. If more parents did that, naturally, revenues would fall and they would have to rethink advertisement and/or product.

      1. Agreed that this is the optimal way to deal with this.

    3. Most libertarians/conservatives would say: your kids health is not worth destroying the free market (the people that own vending machines in schools)and the free choices of others.

      So, on this site…u stand alone :

      1. You’ve got a fantastic handle, but I think your comment a bit deranged. You would rather children’s well being be harmed than violate market principles? That’s inhumane dude. Markets were made for people, not people for markets.

        1. Actually, I’m a liberal and have kids myself.

          And, I’m all for Socialist/Communist ideas like

          – Labels with ingredients
          – Warning labels
          – FDA
          – Regulations in general

          The FREE MARKET existed way before ANY REGULATION exited.

          1. I actually think markets are inherently mixed with government: government enforcing contracts, government setting property rights, government setting weights and measures and fighting fraud, etc.

          2. The free market is a myth. You may as well except it and move on.

            1. Everything is an elaborate fantasy created by Chad’s enormous mind.

              1. Chad is a constant reminder of why North Korea is a hellhole.

            2. Actually though he is right in the sense that I don’t think there has ever been a truly free market, in the sense that Adam Smith invisioned. There has always been subsidies, favoritism, regulations, taxes and corporations, so there has never been a free market.

      2. Itchy, would you say that Dennis is your favorite character on Always Sunny? Nah, can’t be–Charlie is everyone’s favorite.

        1. Epi, you are the pop culture guru so let me tell you my wonderful current theory to get credit later:

          Sawyer will replace Jacob.

          1. Yes, I agree with you MNG that Epi is the resident pop culture guru aound here-with one exception:

            By his own admission, he knows not and cares not for baseball, football or basketball.

            1. ” he knows not and cares not for baseball, football or basketball.”

              Epi, say it ain’t so? Even NCAA football?

              1. I love Epi-my post was not a knock on him. Within the last day or two he admitted that he, like Obama, did not know any players on the Chisox.

                To be sure, I would pick Epi as a lifeline or bet on him if he were a Jeopardy contestant (he would know enough not to pick a topic entitlted “1980s NFL linebackers”).

              2. Especially NCAA football.

                Realize that I can have fun watching sports, but I just don’t care who wins so I just don’t care that much about who is playing. The exception to this is tennis, but that’s because it’s my game.

                1. Epi you and I could be friends if we agreed not to talk politics. I feel exactly the same way about sports, we seem to have similar taste in pop culture, except Gilmore Girls. I’ve even got a tennis court!

    4. MNG|4.7.10 @ 6:38PM|#
      “….It’s silly to think advertising has no effect: all those ad dollars spent annually suggest otherwise…”

      ^ More “logic” from MNG.
      Why, MNG, by that ‘reasoning’, we should certainly ban music that mentions violence.

  28. Maybe the government is just meeting the demand of its constituents to raise their kids for them:…..ldr,17159/

  29. Close the FDA? Maybe break off the parts that are unnecessary.

    The unnecessary parts can’t be broken off. The unnecessary parts are a single piece composing the entire FDA.

    1. Yeah, I know I long for the days of guessing what is indeed in my food and drugs and whether it will kill me or my loved ones. The sheer adventure of it all!

      1. Like the impramatur of the FDA guarantees safe food or that it means anything. It is a vile, corrupt cess pool that has, in fact, zealously acted to thwart the use of natural remedies in treating illness.

        Like any sane, rational person is pining for more such “protection” from the FDA.

        1. The fact of and possibility of regular inspections by experts with sanctions available surely provides incentives that would not otherwise exist for behavior in compliance with the expecations of the inspections. One would have to have a bizarre anti-economic idea of incentives to think otherwise.

          1. Its standard stuff here MNG. First, the big boys support the regulations as a means to keep out competition. THe cost of complying with the regs is expensive and the big boys like that as it creates a barrier to entry.

            Second, there is very little data to support the contention that our food is safer under the current regime than if we did not have the FDA. To argue that we would all be dying of boutulism and other food borne ilnesses without the FDA is, at bottom, RANK SPECULATION.

            Third, what percentage of food contamination and safety cases were caused by a lack of regulations? I would venture to say-near zero.

            Fourth, most people do want to have their product associated with fecal matter, dangerous bacteria and the like. Not good for business.

            Fifth,….wife just called. Must go home.

            1. Libertymike|4.7.10 @ 8:33PM|#
              “…Third, what percentage of food contamination and safety cases were caused by a lack of regulations? I would venture to say-near zero….”

              But it makes MNG feel so warm and cuddly imagining that his/her nanny is on the job!
              Results? Who cares? It’s the intent that matters.

            2. In Canada the Canadian Food Inspection Agency decided that fecal matter is a quality issue not a health issue. As such fecal matter does not effect the inspection of meat and is removed entirely by packing plant employees.

          2. Because killing your customers is a great way to stay in business.

      2. MNG

        You probably don’t realize it, but Consumer Reports is published by an organization that was originally had drug safety testing as one of its primary functions.

        The AMA also did efficacy and safety testing.

        As far as food safety goes, can you imagine a food maker getting liability insurance from an insurance company that does not insist on CGMP?

        I write software for an insurance company that provides that sort of insurance, and the shit that their inspectors look for is pretty detailed and scary.

        Point being that a good torts system coupled by liability insurance coupled with the fear of being put out of business like McDonald Douglas due to bad publicity does most of the heavy lifting with out the perverse incentives that precautionary regulations cum criminal penalties produce.

        In the end no system will prevent bad things from hapenning. Government regulation does prevent a great deal of good thigns hapenning, because government officials have a much lower chance of suffering a loss over their fuckups. Perversely, they are often rewarded; bigger budgets, more power etc.

        1. Agree completely.
          I recall reading once about a case in which the fine imposed was about 10x smaller than the court settlement in the same case.

          Precautionary regulations are generally useless, given that anything predictable is likely already controlled for by the tort system. Anything else isn’t going to be predicted by regulators. All the regulators really do it act like a paranoid nanny and stop people from exploring new innovations on the grounds that they *might* be unsafe.

  30. So Michelle is just ” trying to help?”

    Reminds me of President Harding’s
    cri de coeur:

    ” My enemies are nothing. But it’s
    my friends, my goddamn FRIENDS, who
    keep me walking the floor all night…”

  31. Euthanasia.
    Save the fatties from being bullied and save the rest of us some food.

    Or applied execution for gluttony and sloth.

  32. Food Deserts. I love how most food deserts are in the wheat belt.

  33. The notion that health foods are somehow too expensive or inaccessible to the poor is purified bullshit, born of a prejudical desire to blame all evils on capitalism.

    To whatever extent fresh produce is less available in poor neighborhoods, it is more likely to be due to a lack of consumer demand in those areas, not racist business owners refusing to sell celery to black people.

    Also, it’s a bald face lie that healthy food is expensive. As a student, on a student’s budget, I can personally attest that it’s generally cheaper and healthier to cook from scratch. It’s the processed foods, frozen pizzas, box dinners, and the like which are both more expensive and more loaded with fat and salt and additives.

    In fact, my diet would be healthier if I cut out some of the most expensive items in my grocery list: chocolate, ice cream, sodas, cookies, crackers.

    1. You’re one racist mf, dude. I’ve lived in many a black downtown community. When I go to the store and get to the checkout line, I have to hide my fruits and vegetables from the black patrons so they are unaware that those items are at the store. I usually hide everything under cans of orange and grape soda, so I don’t look suspicious (besides being white). How the fuck are poor black people suppose to eat healthy “white” foods without the guidance of a white nanny?

    2. Wow, we agree for once, Hazel. I too eat a healthy diet, and to the extent that I do buy some luxuries (both healthy and unhealthy), none are required to make my diet work.

      Now, if you would only admit that peoples’ diets have little to do with rational choice, but rather emotion, then we would be getting somewhere.

      1. People’s diets have to do with how they are raised. “Emotion” is not the right word. “Appetite” maybe. Your body is trained to crave things based on experience. You can retrain that of course, whihc does require a concerted application of rational choice. I don’t think the right course is for the government to act as food nanny and force us to eat more vegetables. For one thing, there’s far too much political infuence government what sort of food recommendations the state will make. (Oranges are from Florida!)
        For another thing, diet plan that are forcibly imposed on someone NEVER WORK. The individual has to make a conscious and willing choice to change his diet. Hiding the bag of doritos will just turn him into a guilty, lurking, secret dorito binger.

        1. Wow, Hazel, you do really live in a state of denial. Our desire to eat things is so hyper-emotional that is is actually quite correctly considered an addiction by many professionals.

          A lucky few (mostly for genetic reasons), are not tempted by the donut lying in front of them, despite having already eaten. For the rest of us, it is pure torture which few can fail to succumb to. Personally, I have to set up elaborate rituals to avoid eating in such circumstances; for example, when donuts are provided at our monthly safety meeting, and I am usually the only person in the company that I see not eating one.

          1. People’s diets have to do with how they are raised.

            I think it’s based on how lazy they are, and whether they know how to use common cooking utensils. It’s much easier take a frozen box out of the box that freezes things and put it into the box that cooks things in two minutes than it is to make a salad.

          2. And it should be up to the individual to decide what to eat, Chad. Not the fucking government.

          3. A lucky few (mostly for genetic reasons), are not tempted by the donut lying in front of them, despite having already eaten.

            Are you f-ing kidding me, Chad.

            I am not *in the least* tempted by a donut when I’ve just eaten. I’m not even that tempted by one when I am.
            I hate donuts. Foods that have been drenched in icing are gross.

            And I’m not one of the lucky few.
            If you can’t resist a piece of junk food, when you’ve just eaten, then you have a serious problem. And it probably doesn’t just involve food.

            Seek psychological help.

          4. Also, speaking as someone who has taken a few neurobiology classes, addition is a dysfunction of motivational processes, not emotional ones.

          5. Our desire to eat things is so hyper-emotional that is is actually quite correctly considered an addiction by many professionals.

            Let us celebrate our victimhood.

    3. Indubitably…But i would emphasize one point you only grazed when you said, “I can personally attest that it’s generally cheaper and healthier to cook from scratch.” That’s true, but see, first you have to learn how to cook, then you have to actually take the time to scrutinize through all the many good options and different varieties of food available to you, then you have make the food, then you have to do dishes…Or, you could take a pizza from a box, put it in the oven, eat, then throw away your paper towels. Cost is one thing. Initiative or lack-there-of, is another…And this seems to me, a microcosm of poverty in general.

      1. Hence my point above. By destroying initiative, the welfare system breeds people who are more likely to sit on their ass, eat a frozen pizza, and throw out the paper plates.

        Getting them to cook for themselves involves much more tham lambasting “evil” corporations for not shoving whole wheat pasta down their throats. It involves training them to take care of themselves instead of relying on the government to do everything for them.

        1. Maybe poorer people are eating convenience foods because they’re busy not being able to feed their families on one income and are therefore working.

          You have absolutely no evidence that people are poor because they are lazy. You’re just a bigot hurling stereotypes. Lazy ones, at that.

          The situation in the first world is that rich people are thin and poor people are fat. That’s not because of a moral difference, but because of the absence or presence of both healthy food choices and leisure time.

          1. because they’re busy not being able to feed their families on one income and are therefore working.

            Doesn’t follow Tony and that one was disingenuous and you know it. That single income could just as easily come from government assistance.

            The situation in the first world is that rich people are thin and poor people are fat.

            Got a link?

          2. We need more Wal Marts, so the poor can afford to eat healthy.

          3. If they are so hard working, they should be getting enough exercise to stay thin.

            Unless you think these poverty striken fat people are white-coller laborers.

            1. Hazel, most poor are working service jobs that only require modest physical effort.

              1. You mean like, they are working BS government jobs at the DMV.

          4. Actually, Tony, it is almost impossible to be “poor” and working long hours, unless you have a totally inappropriate numbers of children for your circumstances. You may be at the lower end of the working class, however.

            In actual reality, poor people work less than the middle class and professionals.

          5. “Rich people” is a bigoted phrase, Tony.

    4. Three bucks will buy you enough Quaker oats to make lots of yummy and nutricious breakfasts. If you go store brand, it’s about 25% less. That’s less than a value meal purchased in the food desert.

      It’s not cost or availability. It’s a lack of demand. Obviously, government must either: 1) conceive of a program to incentivize food desert dwellers to consume nutricious foods, or 2) remove all non-nutricious alternatives from the marketplace. Get to is, Shelly.

      1. Third option – the Govt should stop regulating and demanding sertificates and licenses, so that every farmer could sell his products off the patch.

    5. Ahhh, to live in America and be free to shop at lower prices again…

      In Japan, almost everything is price-fixed, so that it doesn’t matter where you shop for produce, meat, fish, or even gasoline and beer. Can any of you imagine shopping in a town that didn’t have bi-weekly sales for beer or meat???

      Unfortunately, it’s far cheaper here to buy junk food and eat that on a daily basis, much to my ever-expanding waistline’s regret.

  34. No more bake sales? But how will schools raise money to send the marching band to the Rose Parade??

    Did you read about the “culinary” tour Michelle and the girls went on while they were in NYC? They feasted on pizza, Red Velvet cupcakes, candy, BBQ ribs, chocolate mousse, gourmet ice cream and foie gras among other tasty treats. Ever so much more fun than planting peas and carrots.

  35. Bake sales are an activity performed by the American pioneers. They have absolutely NO legitimate place in today’s “equal opportunity” US–the culture is no longer capable of producing anything.

  36. bashing is idiotic and boring.

    1. Try another website if your bored.

  37. I always feel so shallow every time I see Mrs. Obama. I have no clue where people get her being attractive from.

    I think we should ban couches, this would force kids to play video games standing and burn more calories.

    1. I don’t think Michelle gives a shit if she does it for you.

      1. Yeah, that’s why she’s so busy being photographed for every woman’s magazine.

        1. Look, I feel the same about all of them. They are In one tough position. It isn’t always about politics but about the person.

    2. She is an extraordinarily unattractive woman. Our President is either gay (NTTAWWT) or…what? It’s not like he married Theresa Heinz for the massive fortune.

      Actually, I’m thinking she married him because she could see he was going places.

      1. Are you saying Michelle has a dark side?

        1. That would be her outside….. oh wait… that probably WAS racist… sorry.

      2. Epi, put up or shut up. Any man who calls tennis his game should have a decent body. Let’s see if Mrs Epi married you for your brain. Post link below.

      3. I had that idea first, Episarch.

      4. Our President is not gay; he obviusly has a fetish for klingons.

        1. I just loves me some big forehead!

    3. Being a rather unattractive person myself, I don’t really notice whether she’s attractive or not.

      Maybe it’s because the inside part is so hideously grating to me – moralizing, bitter, condescensing, angry – that I’ve never bothered considering whether she is good looking or not.

      I do have to give her credit that’s she’s cut back on the condescending angry black woman schtick since he’s been in office.

      Campaign Michelle (“America is downright mean”, “Barack is going to make you get off your ass” type shit) was enough to give me migraines.

  38. hmm,

    dont you remember all the people saying HRC was attractive? and babs streisand? its just the halos of their hero worship making these celebs seem more attractive. since you dont worship her, you dont see it.
    they are just as shallow as you, only differently.

  39. Was there a point in there? Beyond the fact that the author can be snarky?

  40. Let’s zone a city where you drive for a milk or a beer, drive to work, and then raise taxes to conserve energy and reduce our weight. It would be cool.

  41. It’s amazing how far you have come with your dream. I love reading about all the success and accomplishments you have achieved. You’re truly an inspiration.And the same as christian louboutin, it also a good style for you and I believe you will love it

  42. I want everyone in government who wants to control our diet to first take a test in biochemistry and physiology.

    Among other subjects, natch.

    1. You don’t need a degree in anything to tell a the parent of a fat kid to stop feeling them MacDonalds 5 days a week. American ignorance is at an all time high right now.

      You sound overweight.

      1. No, you just need to be an insufferable dickhead to tell a parent what to feed his or her kids. Go ahead and educate people, but compulsion is immoral and ineffective.

        You sound arrogant.

        1. When that kid ends up with a life of heart disease and diabetes(sp) because we don’t want to offend the parents, we all pay for that. If you stopped a parent from beating their kids, would you be “an insufferable dickhead” as well? Cause that’s what they are doing.

          1. No, child abuse is a crime. A Royale with Cheese is not. You really don’t see a difference between saving a child from belt lashes and saving him from medium fries?

            Like I said, I have nothing against education campaigns and the like. That’s all good shit. But we shouldn’t be legislating lifestyle choices. Even if you buy the rationale, it doesn’t actually work.

            1. a “Royale with cheese” or any form thereof every day is a form of child neglect as far as I’m concerned.

              1. They’re on the metric system, they don’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.

                (Please tell me you get the reference)

              2. Good that noone gives a shit about your opinion, but everyone uses law-books, right?

          2. “When that kid ends up with a life of heart disease and diabetes(sp) because we don’t want to offend the parents, we all pay for that.”…and why is it that we have to pay for that???…Why are we all symbiotically connected, so that when one person falls, we all have to feel the weight???…Now i understand and am sympathetic to helping my kin and neighbor, my problem is with be forced(theoretically: at gun point) to helping a stranger.

  43. Ya, she is a total ass for trying to get people active. Being fat is totally the way to show her up. Fat people who dont’ care about their weight live disgusting lives.

  44. “As we speak, legislation is wiggling through Congress that would ban candy and sugary beverages in schools?bake sales, a la carte lunches, Halloween goodies, birthday cupcakes?and stipulate that suitable chow be offered. It’s legislation that can’t be stopped. It’s for the children.”

    Citation needed.

  45. What’s with the libertarian championship of KIDS’ consumption of junk food, even in public schools? (I could see a philosophical objection to “public” school altogether, yeah right, that’ll be the day, but I don’t see anyone here even discussing that.) Do you folks also advocate for kids’ “right” to drive cars, own guns and hire (or be) prostitutes? I suppose it’s a matter of degree, but I don’t get it: why the obsession with kids’ supposed “rights” in this area?

    As late as the ’70s there were no vending machines in schools; the idea would have seemed outlandish. Kids now have both parents working – or they have only one parent – and the adults are too busy to “cook” any more than the microwave requires, if that. That’s a huge difference in U.S. life just since the ’70s and has resulted in a generation of fat and diseased kids. Over time this will put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage – you know, in business and that stuff you guys pretend to care about. Is it so odd that anyone wants to address this situation? Your reply is, oh well that’s business, what can you do?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that conservatives and their kids will die young from being fat pigs. (Similarly, I’m in favor of tobacco exports to the Muslim countries and China: a good way to keep ahead of the over-breeders while selling a traditional American product!) I’m still undecided about libertarians and their kids, but judging by this board and Reason’s food articles, you all seem to be fucking insane.

    1. What’s with the libertarian championship of KIDS’ consumption of junk food, even in public schools?

      Easy, Greg. That seems to be what the kids want to do, and its up to their parents to manage it. Free choice, by free people. Very libertarian.

      The alternative is to be taxed and hectored by various public sector leeches. Very unlibertarian.

      You aren’t free unless you are free to be wrong.

      1. “That seems to be what the kids want to do,”

        That’s my point, who gives a shit? THEY’RE KIDS!

        “…and its up to their parents to manage it.”

        Uh, yeah, if they’re home-schooling or, like, Amish or something. Otherwise they’re usually here in the real world.

    2. Kids now have both parents working – or they have only one parent – and the adults are too busy to “cook” any more than the microwave requires, if that.

      I dispute this assertion. It doesn’t take hours to make a salad or to stir-fry some vegetables. Cereal takes the same amount of time whether it’s fruit loops or Total. A peanut butter sandwich takes about 2 minutes to prepare. A piece of fresh fruit takes zero.

      1. OK… salad, cereal, sandwiches and fruit, which still leaves out most home food from skinnier times. Add to that the peer pressure, advertising and the school food & vending machines.

        1. The home food from “skinnier times” was pretty high fat. Just remember what people used to eat in the 50s.

          Meatloaf. Fried Chicken. Mashed Potatoes. Sausages. Eggs. Bacon. Corn on the Cob.

          Steamed veggies don’t take a lot of time. It doesn’t take much time to open up a can of green beans or a bag of frozen peas either.

          The problem is people want fat and salt … cheese sauces, for instance. They’re not eating pasta-roni because it’s faster. They’re eating it because it has cheap cheese flavoring and fat in it.

  46. I don’t get it: why the obsession with kids’ supposed “rights” in this area?

    It’s not about kid’s rights, it’s about rights in general. The mechanisms being discussed do not involve force-feeding broccoli to kids, they involve onerous, ineffective, and unevenly applied restrictions on people who want to sell or provide food. Or people who want to raise their own kids.

    Over time this will put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage – you know, in business and that stuff you guys pretend to care about.

    No, libertarians generally have no interest in any given country — including the US — maintaining a “competitive advantage”. They certainly are not interested in social engineering designed to produce such an advantage. It’s about freedom, not economic excellence.

    As late as the ’70s there were no vending machines in schools; the idea would have seemed outlandish.

    And yet there were absolutely no laws against vending machines in schools. You want to remove them? Convince people through the free exchange of information that it is indeed “outlandish” to eat vending machine food. Vending machines stop making money, business no longer want to pay the upkeep, and poof, no more vending machines.

    1. A mind-boggling reply. The vending machines didn’t appear by magic; they were put in by cash-strapped (public) schools trying desperately to raise some money that the taxpayers wouldn’t provide. Again, don’t get me wrong: I’m very much against the public school system, at least in its current monstrous and useless form. When I began reading Reason I hoped to find more examination of public schools, instead of these near-weekly, preposterous defenses of kids’ eating junk food in them.

      And if it’s true that “libertarians generally have no interest in any given country — including the US — maintaining a ‘competitive advantage’,” no wonder you guys are so irrelevant in the actual political system of this or any other country.

      1. Personally, I don’t defend junk food eating. I wouldn’t take that tack.

        But there’s a valid point that blaming bad eating habits on advertsiing or “feed deserts” is misguided. It’s simply not true that poor people cannot find healthy foods in their area. They simply choose not to eat them.

        And consequently the policy prescription is misguided. Unhealthy foods are *already* more expensive than healthy ones. making them less available or more expensive (hide the bottle from the alcoholic!) isn’t going to alter their eating patterns.

        You have to motivate people to make a conscious choice to learn to cook and to eat healthier. Giving them an opportunity to blame their eating habits on outside forces is scapegoating.

        1. But that’s not true either. Fast food franchises have long been subsidized by government policy; they’re by far the easiest business to start in a poor neighborhood.

          Farmers’ markets in New York City (for instance) have been a huge success in EVERY poor neighborhood in which they’re introduced (yes, even the black ones, not just the Hispanic ones as some here might suppose). But those neighborhoods often don’t have even one supermarket.

          “Unhealthy foods are *already* more expensive than healthy ones”? Come on, the entire fast food industry – especially meat – is heavily subsidized by government. Why does Reason never address that angle? Instead they seem to think taking the talk-radio-conservative “cultural” side in the food war will suffice. I was expecting a little more factual analysis.

          1. That’s a valid point. We’d go an extremely far way toward addressing some of these issues simply by removing subsidies (which, to a libertarian, should be no more attractive than special taxes). Between our subsidies of the beef and corn industries alone we’ve created massive public health problems.

            So yeah, to be clear, I don’t think we can cut off those subsidies fast enough.

            1. I was writing my heated post below before I saw that we finally agree on something! Great.

              1. Haha, and I was reacting to your heated post below before I saw this one. Damn non-time-travelling interwebs.

            2. Eating beef can be healthy.

              If you crave fat and salt, it’s much better to eat a steak or a hamburger than a bag of chips or even a plate of breaded deep-fried zuchinni. At least with the steak you’re getting some good protein and vitamins.

              1. I’m not a vegetarian; I’m not sure why you brought this up.

          2. Fast food franchises have long been subsidized by government policy

            Not really, no.
            Sure we have farm subsidies, but those will affect both fresh and fast foods. It’s not like subsidized wheat ONLY goes into hamburger buns or subsidized corn ONLY gets fed to McDonalds cattle farms.

            1. Yes – most glaringly, they’ll give loans for a fast food franchise because it’s easy and because they’ve already made a dozen similar loans down the street.

              1. What, government sponsored small-business loans, or bank loans?

                It’s possible that fast-food franchises have a greater chance of success, so they get more loans because they are lower risk.

                1. Right, I meant the gov’t sponsored ones.

              2. No. Because people apply for these loans. This is the real reason. They might want to give more loans for building car plants, but there are no takers, sorry.

      2. The vending machines didn’t appear by magic; they were put in by cash-strapped (public) schools trying desperately to raise some money that the taxpayers wouldn’t provide

        OK, but the machines only make money if people want what they sell, right? You can’t make money just because you want to, there needs to be a demand for the product or service you’re offering.

        Putting a vending machine in a school is not an act of compulsion. Students can ignore it every minute of every day without a single negative consequence. And, if they do so, it will go away.

        Like Hazel says, it’s impossible to avoid drilling down to simple human preference here. And nobody is “defending” the act of eating junk food — that is an amoral act that doesn’t deserve derision or defense. Some of us are simply criticizing modern-day legislative attempts at addressing public health because, in our view, those measures are ineffective and are not in keeping with a classically liberal society.

        1. Again – THEY’RE KIDS! Why do you even give a shit what they think they “want”? No doubt some of them want a cigarette vending machine too! What is this obsession with what kids (supposedly) “want”? Kids are slaves to peer pressure and are mostly unable to judge the merits and demerits of advertising. Eating junk food deserves much more more “derision” than it gets, apparently, especially among peer-pressured kids. But as long as somebody somewhere is making a buck off it, you slap the “libertarian” label on it and call it freedom?

          Again – doesn’t it make a difference to you if it’s a taxpayer-funded school? (I still don’t see anyone addressing that angle.) You can talk about parenting all you want. Fine. I’m talking mostly about the “in loco parentis” part of the day.

          1. Dude, first of all, calm the hell down. I’ve tried to resist reacting to your vitriol, but damn.

            I’m not a crusader for keeping cheetos in schools. I couldn’t care less. My point is a broad one — that coercion through legislation is doomed to fail and to produce unintended consequences. Sorry if that offends you, but I’m honestly not trying to give all our kids heart disease or something.

            1. Well, it’s just that you keep acting as if we’re discussing something nefarious being inflicted on 30- year-olds. Maybe you libertarians get so seduced by your “nanny state treating us like children” boilerplate that in this case, you simply keep forgetting we are discussing LITERAL children?

              Taking vending machines out of schools — how is that “doomed to fail”? And if it qualifies as “coercion,” so what? They’re kids! If the teacher tells them they’re not allowed to throw stuff in class, isn’t that “coercion” too?

          2. Personally, I don’t have a problem with removing vending machines from schools, actually.

            I think parents should have some control over their kids eating habits, and most parents probably wouldn’t want their kids eating out of vending machines if they could help it.

      3. When I began reading Reason I hoped to find more examination of public schools, instead of these near-weekly, preposterous defenses of kids’ eating junk food in them.
        Here’s the problem. You think all the people gathered here specially to fit into your expectations?
        Govt feels the same.

  47. WTF is a food desert!?!? Did he mean dessert? I can’t tell you how many times I have driven for hours looking for an apple or a gallon of milk! I live in the middle of NOWHERE and I still have 3 stores that sell groceries within a 20 minute drive. Fuck! Make them stop!

    1. The “food desert” is a device to turn the laziness and sloth of “underpriviledged” land whales into a condition forced upon them. The only reason there aren’t more apples in the corner market is because they don’t sell, period. The market owner is as glad to make a buck selling apples as pork rinds.

      1. It’s a total denial mechanism to avoid blaming fat people for their own condition.

        Nobody like blaming the victim, but sometimes, you know, it’s not without truth.

        If you’re eating frozen pizza and hamburger helper on a regular basis, it’s almost certainly not because it isn’t *possible* to learn to cook for yourself and buy vegetables. It’s probably because you havn’t bothered to try.

        Now, if you have a disability that keeps you housebound and unable to stand long enough to cook a meal, ok.

        But that doesn’t describe most of these people.

  48. I don’t understand why this article is so angry. Isn’t it a good thing that we’re trying to keep our kids healthy and help them make healthy choices? Their brain and frontal lobe connections aren’t developed enough until their 20’s. The part that decides certain choices will hurt them in the long run.…..=124119468

    I’m just happy there’s people out there trying to make others aware of it. I’m not sure why suggesting the community be involved with it’s children and their well being is a bad thing. I’d like for my government and community to help me with these things. It’s easier to fight against putting yet another fast food chain in my neighborhood with a community of people. I’d like to have the choice of more Organic Products at my neighborhood ghetto Pricechopper… but I have to drive 45 minutes to get those things so I can support local farmers and businesses that run an honest business. So yes, I guess you can call my radius a “desert”. It’s considered the ghetto.

    There are small towns all over the Midwest that are small populations and only have fast food chains to choose from and the bare minimum to choose from at the grocery store. There are a lot of uneducated people in these pockets of rural America that actually do NOT know these things are bad for them. So, it’s good to get someone on a megaphone once in a while to spread the message.

    Right now the parents of many schools in KC are working together to come up with healthier choices at lunch time. I think that’s a good thing.

    Maybe I’m just not understanding the message this article is really trying to relay along with your comments. :/

    1. I suspect that the anger comes from:
      1) the complete lack of recognition of individual responsibility for their bad decisions (e.g. creation of the “food desert”) and
      2) the fact that much of what dim Shelly espouses is nothing but regurgitated Doctor Oz pseudoscience.

    2. Um… “local” fresh produce is not the only kind of vegetables worth eating.

  49. I’m just happy there’s people out there trying to make others aware of it.

    Nobody is opposed to awareness. Please, feel free, shout it from the mountain tops. You’ll have to look for a long time to find a libertarian who wants to restrict efforts at informing people. The problem comes with legal compulsion of lifestyle choices.

    Nobody is arguing that three trips to McDonald’s a day makes for a balanced diet. That’s not the point. The point is that people should feel free to make their own choices. So yes, go ahead and spread awareness — just don’t try to use the long arm of the law to get other people to behave the way you personally would like to see them behave.

    1. “people should feel free to make their own choices…”

      Adult people, not kids.

      The article is about kids, the article is about kids, the article is about kids, the article is about kids…

      1. It’s about helping the kids, by taking responsibility away from the parents (adults) and placing it on the “community”. Which is just a pseudonym for government when it comes from the mouth of the government.

        I ask you…if you want to help the children, HELP THE CHILDREN…The fact is, when you ask government or the “community” to fix a problem, YOU aren’t doing anything. You’re alleviating yourself of responsibility.

        -thought experiment-
        Let’s say you are a doctor or teacher or really, anyone who provides a necessary service.
        One day, both federal and state governments abolish all welfare programs, all safety nets.
        Now ask yourself if, under these conditions, you are more or less likely to personally go out and help your “community”?


  50. I don’t see how getting schools to stop providing unhealthy foods is bad. If parents want to give their kids sugar crap cereal that’s their business, but when it’s my tax dollars, yeah make them eat good. (the question of whether goverment should provide school lunches is separate).

    As for schools cracking down on kids bringing cupcakes to class etc, I think that’s to far.

    But I don’t have a problem at all with them not putting in vending machines etc.

  51. I don’t like the demonization of “junk food” that even the anti-statist people here are taking part in. Sure, you ought not to eat only candy and doughnuts every day, but it’s not going to kill you as long as you keep it to a reasonable level THAT YOU CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF. It won’t even make you fat: the only way you can get fat is by eating too many calories for the amount you exercise. It has nothing to do with how healthy you eat. Nutrition does have other important effects, of course, but being fat is not a complicated issue.

    Input > Output-> Fat

    Also, forcing kids to exercise in school is BS. When I was a little kid, I hated every minute of them forcing us to run around in a gym or outside and play their stupid games. I personally wouldn’t have chosen the “Lord of the Flies” style nonsense Voros McCracken mentioned over indoor activities if I had the choice, either. My idea of a good time does not involve playing outdoors in the Alabama sun. I’ve always been a skinny person, and while I wasn’t in particularly good shape (but not particularly unhealthy, either), I did not (and still don’t) care. It’s just not worth it to me to be able to do things I have no interest in.

  52. A look at life before the obeisity epidemic.

  53. The fact that our schools are full of junk food to begin with is partly the fault of the USDA and corn subisidies. You’re doing us a disservice to pretend otherwise. This is potential big government response to a problem caused by big government. I fail to see the issue here.

    If this passes it means that school lunches will, horror of horrors, be back where most of them were 30 years ago.

    This is a problem akin to placing Maxim and Cosmo in the school library then telling the kids not to read them.

    Common sense never would have let Arramark and the like bring the junk food in in the first place.

    1. True, so why not solve the root problem? STOP the government corn and soy subsidies!! They have NO business subsidizing private industry.

  54. Honestly, I’ve stopped caring what they ban in government schools. Anyone who still sends their kid to one obviously WANTS the government to be the primary care provider. Let ’em ban soft drinks, home-baked food, open discourse, free thought, whatever the hell they want; it’s no concern to those of us who love our children enough to educate them in a REAL (i.e. non-government) school.

  55. On political correctness and the nanny state: “Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.” Thomas Mann

  56. Very good post. Made me realize I was totally wrong about this issue. I figure that one learns something new everyday. Mrs Right learned her lesson! Nice, informative website by the way.

  57. There are serious issues and concerns about obesity on young people. Choosing a healthy lifestyle is not always an easy option for the poorest in the population. But there are healthy eating choices that can be made, even for those on lower incomes.

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