I applaud Michelle Obama for targeting childhood obesity as a priority and advocating for programs that improve the well-being of our youth. But I challenge her approach as it does not go far enough.
While efforts to increase the number of “healthy schools,” encourage more exercise, and improve the availability of more nutritious food in low-income neighborhoods are noble, they do not attack the real enemy in the battle of the bulge: the number of excess calories available to eat. This is the missing link.
Rather than looking at the food industry as a pariah, it’s time to reach out to them.
Putting into effect tax incentives that entice food companies to sell fewer calories will yield more tangible results than pushing for more consumer behavioral change. These incentives can be structured to reward companies that cut their calories. Conversely, if marketers continue to spew excess calories on the public, they would risk losing favorable tax treatments.
An Obama program fueled by an energized food industry would be a strong one-two punch to knockout obesity. Our children’s health depends on it.