Michelle Obama, Will You Please Shut Up?

OK, Michelle, we need to have a chat here. Because I don’t think you’re listening to all the people who have an issue with your new crusade against childhood obesity. Yes, we all know your girls are chubby. I bet they’re awfully pleased that an entire nation knows this. I’m sure this hasn’t hurt their self-esteem in any way. You probably won’t be having issues in the future because of these declarations.

It’s been suggested by many different people that you change the tone of your crusade to one of positive-ness: let’s have healthy, active kids. You know, encourage kids to play, serve fresh fruits and vegetables, teach them that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Instead, you want to target the fat kids. As if they aren’t targeted already. You want to make sure that they have the big old label of fat kid killing society with their unwellness and unhealthy habits.

Now I read an article that you are encouraging parents to use the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale to determine if their children are overweight. C’mon, Michelle, even the article I read about your sudden insight suggests that the BMI scale isn’t all that accurate.

Body Mass Index doesn’t directly measure body fat—it’s a screening tool, not a diagnostic tool, Woolford points out. And BMI isn’t always accurate; since muscle weighs more than fat, most athletes, even as children, may be considered overweight or even obese when looking at their BMI numbers alone. “But for the majority of Americans, that’s not what we find,” Woolford points out. “For the vast majority of Americans, when weight is too high for height it’s because we’re dealing with adiposity,” or an overabundance of fatty tissue.

I am not a researcher. But google BMI articles and you will find that their usage isn’t so cut and dry. They are flawed. As are weight charts and other body-measuring devices. The writers of these articles have a way of taking a small piece of a research report and twisting it to fit their message of the moment. We won’t even talk about drug companies manipulating the BMI scale and weight charts to ensure they sell more products!

I did the BMIs for my family and they are all over the place. According to the scale, my nationally ranked athletes are in really bad shape. I know the quote above points out that it might be off for athletes because the BMI scale doesn’t differentiate between fat and muscle. Then how good a tool is it? Because “average Americans” will differ in their ratios of fat to muscle.

Michelle, couldn’t you do something proactive on the issue of childhood obesity? Other than pointing out that your pediatrician uses the BMI scale to measure your children? Your girls are approaching puberty, a time for gathering fat necessary for the hormonal changes that will be taking place in their bodies over the next couple of years.

Could you not help the funding of schools to serve better hot lunches. Help schools provide outdoor recess and physical education classes. Keep after-school sports.

By the way, I loved the idea of the BMI being calculated at schools. Seriously? I still have nightmares from being weighed publicly. Of course, today’s children have evolved to the point that bullying is practically non-existent. That was sarcasm!

I don’t have the answers, but I would be happy to brainstorm with you. Or invite you to my house filled with the BMI-challenged. I’d love to share some of the research I’ve been coming across about yo-yo dieting, bullying, self-esteem. I’d love you to watch my obese athletes train. And hear the pediatrician say, “he’s the fittest 300 pound kid I’ve ever seen.”

Mostly, Michelle, I wish you would seriously think about the message you’re sending. Wouldn’t it be so much better to find some other way to help our children be healthy and happy without humiliation and random numbers? You’re a smart woman and a good mother, I’m sure you can come up with something.

xo Susie

7 thoughts on “Michelle Obama, Will You Please Shut Up?

  1. I enjoyed the points that you made and I think it is so important that each person come to understand that they are not AVERAGE – the average is just all of us mushed together to come up with an ideal that does not exist.

    It would help if people in the spotlight did not keeping pointing to this imaginary ideal as the place that all people need to try to achieve!

  2. Wonderful letter Susie!!! Maybe you will receive a response. I wrote a similar letter to Michelle and sadly haven’t heard back yet, but what you are saying is spot on and maybe if enough of us bombard our First Lady with this message, she’ll see another perspective. Your mentioning the intervening variable of puberty and hormonal changes, was brilliant b.t.w.
    Thanks for doing this!

  3. I just want to say I’m extremely new to blogs and really enjoyed you are internet site. Likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You actually have exceptional post content. Thank you for sharing your webpage.

Leave a Reply to Adeline Ozenne Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *