Michelle Obama is an incredible person. Michelle Obama has been an outstanding First Lady of the United States. The Lets Move campaign has been an outstanding movement for promoting exercise to our youth. The Lets Move campaign has done a nice job promoting gardens and the consumption of vegetables.
However, if we judge the Lets Move campaign on its stated mission to "solve the problem of obesity within a generation" then the campaign has been a tremendous failure. This failure is no surprise to the scientists and doctors who work in the field of childhood obesity. The science based key to reversing the obesity epidemic lies in decreasing exposure to added sugars. If you tell a child to exercise more BEFORE you get them off sugary drinks then they actually gain more weight. The science is simple….A 30 minute soccer practice is NOT enough exercise to burn off the gatorade the child brings to "rehydrate" with. Every week I see children in my office who are frustrated that their efforts to exercise have failed to solve their weight problem. These children and families feel hopeless. They have followed the instructions of our national leadership and continue to gain more weight. The first thing we do is to explain the TRUTH about beating childhood obesity…. LETS NOT DRINK SUGAR. We challenge the children to battle SODATRON, the evil SODA monster, who is ravaging our communities. They must NOT drink the poison of the enemy for one month ( no sugary drinks for one month) and then they return to our office. Inevitably, upon return, their weight has plateaued or even decreased. More important then the successful weight loss is that THESE CHILDREN FEEL EMPOWERED, their sense of hopelessness has disappeared.
WE MUST ACT NOW TO CHANGE THE NATIONAL STRATEGY as obesity rates have hit an all-time high this year. The public health consequences of our flawed national strategy are catastrophic.
For those who want to read more on the science of reversing the obesity epidemic, we recommend this article by Dr. Aseem Malhotra.
For those who want to learn more about the science of sugar we recommend this video lecture from Dr. Robert Lustig.
In 2012 our campaign attempted to warn Michelle Obama and the Lets Move campaign of the imminent failure of their strategy with this blogpost.