It’s A ‘Let’s Move!’ MIRACLE!

Did you hear? Just a mere two years after the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative was started, childhood obesity is reversing course! It’s a miracle! All that strong arming of businesses, restaurants and schools is paying off!

The Weekly Standard has this headline ‘White House Credits ‘Let’s Move’ for Halting and Reversing Childhood Obesity Trend’. Here’s the only line in the whole thing that matters:

The press release does not include any data to bolster the claim.

Data? We don’t need no stinkin’ data! This is coming from the White House, there is no need to question it! They have nothing to hide and are the most transparent administration in history, after all.  Just look at the EPA for example… well, o.k. maybe not the EPA. How about the White House itself? Oh, Oops…time to fire up the newly reorganized community organizing propaganda machine and spin, spin, spin!

Let’s look at some of the recent Great Moments in Transparency:

The reality is that perhaps obesity rates have declined a bit, but one can just as easily attribute that to the new levels of grinding poverty and children going hungry as the reason the numbers might be tipping.

Hey, where’s my data supporting that claim? I could just tell you to take my word for it, works for the White House right? Nah, I won’t do that but instead point you to an indicator from one of the biggest retailers in the world: Wal-Mart.


“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

Oh, dear. Now why might that be? Drop in share value is one but the other is the consumer. The kind of consumer which counts on low prices on goods and food to keep their families afloat. Should this freak us out? Meghan McArdle seems to think if things for Wal-mart do not improve, that answer is ‘yes’.

Bloomberg continues:

Customers’ Wallet

Higher payroll taxes “go against our customers’ wallet,” Family Dollar Chief Executive Officer Howard Levine said on a Jan. 3 conference call. “Clearly, they do not have as much for discretionary purchases than they did.”

Wal-Mart’s Geiger in his e-mail urged employees to improve business by “fixing something that could really make a difference to our performance.” He quoted Tim Yatsko, the company’s executive vice president of global sourcing, saying: “We need to ‘stop the stupid.’”

Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon said during a Feb. 1 officers meeting, the minutes of which were attached to Geiger’s e-mail, that the troubled economy leaves little room for internal errors.

“In an environment like this, we can’t afford to hurt ourselves,” Simon said, according to the minutes. “Self- inflicted wounds are our biggest risk and our toughest enemy.”

Payroll taxes returning to their original levels plus the increase in gas prices are pinching the heck out of the average citizen’s wallet. Now, factor in the cost of food and energy have been rising as well, and you have a lot of people buying less and eating less – in the dark perhaps. To be fair, this spending has been dropping for a number of years while hunger levels (See p.41) have been increasing each year. Carpe Diem noted back in 2009:

In the entire history of the U.S., it’s only been in the last eight years that the percent of income spent on food for Americans was in single digits – since 2000 it’s been below 10%. In all previous years, spending on food was in double-digits, and in most years from 1929 to 1952 it was above 20%. Consider that in 1932, spending on food at home took almost 22% of disposable income, compared to the record low of only 5.6% in 2008. Food has never been more affordable than today, as a share of income.

In 2008, despite the “Great Recession,” total spending on food as a share of disposable personal income fell to 9.6%, reaching the lowest level ever recorded in U.S. history. And since spending on food as a share of income is lower in the U.S. than in any other country, the 9.6% share of income spent on food in the U.S. for 2008 is probably the lowest ever in the history of the world.

Now, contrast this with the current data on food spending via the US Census where costs for a family of four jumped roughly $2.00 from 2009 to 2010 on the ‘thrifty plan’, as seen below:

It doesn’t take charts and tables for the average person out there to realize the cost of food has been rising. Anyone who hits a grocery store can tell you that. Just the other day, I paid the same amount for a gallon of gas as I did for a gallon of whole milk: $3.89.  If you really want some interesting numbers though, check out The Food Timeline. The Corn Flakes and Oreo sections paint the picture of how prices have increased exponentially over the last 50 or so years.

This grand proclamation, void of any data, points more to an attempt to rehab the First Lady’s image and that of this administration than it does to any real change in obesity.


Related Reading from LL1885:

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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