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Topics: Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' initiative may have increased obesity rates

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Health,Michelle Obama,Ashe Schow,Lets Move,CDC

It seems first lady Michelle Obama's nanny-state initiative to reduce childhood obesity may have at best done nothing and at worst increased obesity, according to a report from Reuters.

Obama cited a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to show that her "Let's Move" campaign to force kids to eat healthy was working so well, obesity rates had fallen by 43 percent. But, once obesity specialists looked at the report, looks like they found the report contained more fat -- figuratively speaking -- than a cheeseburger.

“You need to have a healthy degree of skepticism about the validity of this finding,” Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of the weight center at Massachusetts General Hospital, said.

First, the study had a small sample size, which CDC scientists acknowledged. But don’t expect facts to get in the way of a good press release.

Second, the study had a large margin of error.

“The 13.9 percent obesity rate among preschoolers reported for 2003-2004 had a large enough margin of error that the actual rate could range between 10.8 percent and 17.6 percent, the CDC authors acknowledged. The 8.4 percent rate in 2011-2012 reported could range from 5.9 percent and 11.6 percent.

“Since the range for 2003-2004 overlaps with that of 2011-2012, [epidemiologist Geoffrey] Kabat said, ‘that's another way of saying there might have been no change’ in preschoolers' obesity rate. Even an increase is a statistical possibility.”

The CDC concluded this in the report, stating “there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012.”

Third, other studies don’t support the CDC’s stated findings of a drop in obesity. A study of 3- and 4-years-olds by the Women, Infants and Children program found that the obesity rate of subjects in Los Angeles County increased between 2003 and 2011, according to Reuters.

An earlier CDC study also found the obesity rate among 2- and 5-year-olds to have fallen by just 2 percent, not 43 percent.

Finally, the latest CDC report found little sign that children’s behaviors were becoming healthier. Junk food eating and TV watching rose, while vegetable eating fell.

How many more taxpayer dollars will be thrown at this program that clearly isn’t working?

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Author:

Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner