August 17 2013

One News Now: Direct from the White House: ‘Hip hop’ for healthy habits

One New Now

By Chris Woodward  

Conservative commentators are weighing in on Michelle Obama’s “hip hop”-inspired campaign for healthy eating habits in her crusade against childhood obesity.

The First Lady's Partnership for a Healthier America teamed up with the Hip Hop Public Health Foundation for a new 19-song album they hope will inspire children to eat better and exercise. Song titles include “Veggie Luv,” “Get Up, Sit Up,” and “U R What You Eat.” A music video for another song (“Everybody”) is already getting a lot of attention.

“Songs for a Healthier America” features the talents of artists like Jordin Sparks, Doug E. Fresh, Ryan Beatty, Artie Green, and the Hip Hop Doc as well as TV personality Dr. Oz.

Speaking this week on American Family Radio, Ryan Bomberger of The Radiance Foundation and Josh Duggar of FRC Action offered their take on Mrs. Obama’s musical outreach.

"First Ladies all make their mark differently, and she has been actively involved in this issue,” noted Bomberger. “I think it is important to be healthy. I just, you know ... how much the government should play a role in enforcing that, like the size of the cupcake and the amount of icing on the cupcake, c'mon."

Duggar believes it's good to have people who are in a position of authority speaking out and making their voices heard to encourage people. Still, he says personal accountability is needed. "I know, for me, I lost 30 pounds and it wasn't easy,” he shared. “It doesn't matter if there were a hundred government programs, it wasn't going to help me. I had to make those choices for myself."'

OneNewsNow spoke with Julie Gunlock, director of the Women for Food Freedom Project at the Independent Women's Forum. She doesn't see anything necessarily wrong with the approach, but thinks other aspects of the music genre are more deserving of attention from the White House.

"I wish the president would reach out to the hip hop community maybe to encourage them to stop glorifying gun violence or maybe they could stop treating women like objects,” says Gunlock. “That might be another way to reach out the music community. But as far as asking her to have artists express through music some healthy messages, you know, that's fine."

Gunlock adds that childhood obesity rates are highest among minority children, which also tend to be among the poorest children. Still, one of the issues that Gunlock and other commentators (like Duggar) have mentioned in recent years is that personal accountability is often missing from these types of campaigns.

The IWF project director says parents also need to be more involved. "Unless parents get involved in their child's nutritional development, you're not going to see any changes,” she states. “[Michelle Obama] has talked about parents, but she certainly doesn't talk enough about the fact that we have a generation of children who are being ignored by their parents. People are ceding this responsibility to the schools."

Gunlock points out that schools now serve not just lunch, breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks. In some areas, meals are served in the summer. "There are even rumblings in Congress to expand that, not just through summer but to holidays,” she adds.

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