Michelle Obama’s School Nutrition Agenda Has No Basis In Science

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Nebraska experts are shaking their heads in dismay over the new federal guidelines for school nutrition. They believe – as many students do – that the new guidelines are too strict and have taken the power of choice away from the kids. “We might have changed the school but we haven’t changed the child or our world,” Diane Zipay, the director of nutritional services for the Westside School District told Omaha’s KETV.

Therein lies just one of many problems with Michelle Obama’s wellness campaign and the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Act that blossomed from her activism. Kids may be stuck with granola bars, whole wheat bread, and vegetables at the school lunch table, but that doesn’t prepare them to make healthy choices when they get home. In fact, psychology suggests that these kids will be even more likely to chase down a donut after school when they have been forcefully deprived all day.

Some of the rules now in effect at Nebraska schools – and schools around the country that have chosen to participate – restrict snack calories, remove salt packets and shakers, and reduce drink options to diet soda, water, tea, and milk. When schools opt out of the guidelines, they risk losing federal funding. This isn’t a choice many public schools can afford to make.

But What About Our Kids?

The arguments against these kinds of restrictions seem to fly in the face of common sense. After all, we have a major obesity problem in America; why shouldn’t the federal government be doing everything they can to stem the tide? Conservatives will argue that the feds should stay out of local schools altogether, but the day we elect someone willing to get rid of the Department of Education – or at least severely restrict its influence – will be the day we see winged pork in the grocery store.

The problem is that “common sense” doesn’t always work in situations like this, and liberals should know better than to think they could apply it anyway. Two years after the Healthy Hunger-Free Act became law, a Pennsylvania State University study was published. Researchers followed thousands of American students from kindergarten through to the eighth grade. One group of students went to schools where junk food was banned while the other set went to schools where it was allowed. The results? There was a statistically insignificant difference in the rate of obesity between the junk food kids and the no-junk-food kids. In other words, what schools offered or didn’t offer made no difference at all in how fat the students got.

But how could this be? Well, it’s simple: kids aren’t getting the majority of their junk food out of the school lunch line. They’re getting it from home. That means that Michelle’s major accomplishment as First Lady has done nothing but grow the government that much more. This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has closely watched this administration, but it’s certainly interesting. For all of the criticism Democrats like to lob at Republicans for being anti-science, they don’t mind ignoring a study or two if it doesn’t fit their pre-determined philosophy.