Tag Archives: politics

Who Will be a Fitter First Lady: Michelle Obama or Ann Romney?

First ladies have a tough job – they are dragged into exhausting campaigns whether they like it or not, must learn to live in the spotlight along with their family, and are required to pull it off with seemingly easy style, grace, and charm. They are called to be supportive of their husbands no matter what, an exemplary mother, great at small talk, have a flair for hostessing, and a penchant for making skirt suits look attractive. Some women can do it, and do it well, while others wilt in the fierce glare of media attention. With their husbands’ names about to be on the top of America’s voting ballots come November, we want to know: do Ann Romney and Michelle Obama have what it takes to stomach (another) four years in the White House?

With four years behind her, Mrs. Obama already has a track record to show for how she balances family, work, and social obligations. Her main platform as FLOTUS has been to reduce childhood obesity through her Let’s Move! initiative.

Mrs. Obama’s family are the first ones to benefit from her activism as she keeps them healthy and fit. She stresses nutritious eating to her daughters, not so that they will be thin but so that they will have energy for sports activities. Her favorite unhealthy food is french fries and she says she tries to curb her husband’s unwholesome snacking as much as she can. Mrs. Obama has said that she doesn’t count calories but simply focuses on how she feels, and how she feels about herself. She has also planted a garden on the White House lawn so that the family can eat homegrown, organic fruits and vegetables. (more…)

Major Organic Brands, Like Kashi and Naked, Funding Anti-GMO Labeling Campaigns

It’s natural to assume the good in someone, or something. In this case, a brand. Brands like Kashi, Naked, Alexia, Larabar, and Silk have spent millions in marketing and packaging so that we’re comfortable with their do-gooder, earth-friendly, clean and organic food brand personas. These brands are the nemesis of classic grocery store junk. But they just may be the nemesis of conscious eaters everywhere, too, according to a new infographic produced by Cornucopia.org.

The vote in California next month on Prop 37, which would require labeling of GMO and GE food products, is as hot as the presidential election. That vote there, while only immediately effecting California, has the potential to create a new labeling standard across the country. As you can imagine, a GMO labeling law would require transparency where these brands have been able to slip under the radar previously. As well, where companies are the most concerned, it will cost them quite a bit of money to update labeling.

Right there in red and green, you can see which previously assumed supporters of natural, organic, clean foods are just a front for more secrecy behind the label. Dean Foods, parent of Horizon and Silk, has spent a quarter-million dollars to prevent labeling GMOs. Coca-Cola, with their Honest Tea and Odwalla brands, has spent 1.1 million dollars. Something about that doesn’t feel so honest. (more…)

ObamaCare’s Future a Hot Topic in Romney’s and Obama’s First Presidential Debate

In the first presidential debate of the 2012 election, President Obama and former Governor Romney went head-to-head on issues ranging from taxes for the middle class to how much government should be involved in regulating Wall Street. This first debate held high stakes for each candidate, as historically debates can serve to predict who will get ahead in the polls and ultimately become the next president.

The ongoing health care issue was a hot topic during this evening’s debate, its significance underscored as the candidates frequently referenced it to back up their platforms. The issue deeply polarizes voters as they face the critical question of how they’ll pay for routine and emergency medical expenses.

The importance of how Medicare, Medicaid, and the so-called ObamaCare Act will function in the future could not be overstated for the future health of the nation, with Obama saying outright, “I want to talk about Medicare…because that’s the big driver of our deficits right now.”

A frequently-quoted $716 billion was one point of difference between the candidates, and a touchy subject at that. Obama took it from Medicare and transferred the sum to help pay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, a move he defended during the debate. Romney blasted the president’s decision, saying he would return it to Medicare and give states the ability to make their own decisions concerning health care for their citizens. (more…)

7-Eleven Double Big Gulps Exempt from NYC Soda Ban

Earlier today New York City’s Board of Health ruled to pass Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on over-sized sugary drinks, otherwise known as the Soda Ban. It’s a landmark ruling that is the first of its kind anywhere in the nation. At the most basic, the ruling puts in to effect a law six months from now that will ban the sale of sweetened beverages, like soda, sweetened iced tea, and energy drinks, larger than 16 ounces.

This means you can no longer order a large sweet tea at McDonald’s or a large soda at Subway. In fact, you can’t order anything above a small at any restaurant, street cart, sports stadium, or movie theater in New York City if it’s filled with sugary beverages. The ruling applies to any business that receives inspections from NYC’s health department. At some restaurants, their smallest cup sizes starts well past 16 ounces.

There are always loop holes though, and that is where places like 7-Eleven, Starbucks, and Dunkin’ Donuts might be able to help Americans keep getting fatter with every sip they take.

“The restrictions would not affect fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; no-calorie diet sodas would not be affected,” reported the NYTimes.com following the ruling. Large Frostys at Wendy’s are safe; Cokes in that same establishment are not. (more…)

Vegan Advocacy Group Fights to Remove Milk from Schools

In these tumultuous times while most of our country has its eyes on the upcoming election, some health advocates are turning their eyes in another direction: On school lunches.

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) – a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. – advocates for vegan diets and is out to bring dairy down, and hard. And where are they aiming their message? At kids, naturally, because they want to abolish milk from the school lunch programs for good. And in place of diary, they want to see other calcium sources on kids’ plates like beans, sweet potatoes and figs.

This isn’t an entirely unreasonable request, however, not everyone’s buying what they’re trying to sell. And perhaps it’s because of the group’s tendency to use harsh, unconventional methods for advocating in the past.

An example of PCRM’s radical ways? Just earlier this year the group placed some controversial billboards in Albany, New York, with images of overweight people grabbing their fat, and blamed dairy as the reason for their weight.

The signs said things like “Your Thighs on Cheese,” and “Your Abs on Cheese,” in an attempt to send the message that dairy is the reason Americans are fat. This, they say, is because of the saturated fat milk contains. (more…)

Why Americans aren’t Walking Much and Conservatives are Walking Even Less

Are liberals doing more walking than conservatives? If a recent story on ‘The Crisis in American Walking‘ from The Slate is accurate, potentially yes.

But before we get all political and step on toes, maybe it’s not conservatives’ fault. Perhaps the fault lies on the cities in which they live.

Tom Vanderbilt, author of the above mentioned article, investigated why more Americans aren’t walking, why other countries are walking more, and how the decline in walking is affecting our health.

It all began at a highway safety conference in Savannah, Georgia. After attending a class on pedestrian safety, Vanderbilt spiraled into all-out investigation mode on the topic of pedestrians in America, and how the pedestrian has become some odd being traveling on foot instead of by car, horse or plane.

When crossing the street after the class, Vanderbilt noted looking up and seeing a “Stop for Pedestrians” sign and, finding the whole thing odd, thought, “Why not just write: ‘Stop for People?'” What has walking in America become? A hazard? A rarity?

The experience got him thinking, and he began researching the topic, which resulted in a four-part series on the topic of walking in America and why it’s become a problem and point of fixation for many. It seems people either do it or they don’t. And it shows in the way their cities are designed and laid out. (more…)

Down Economy Forces Some Schools to Feed Kids Supper

When I was younger and living in New Mexico with my parents and older sister, we were by no means a rich family.

Of the many things I don’t remember about my time there as a 3-8 year old, one thing I do have a vivid memory of is walking down to a nearby park with my mom and sister to get a free lunch that was provided to families in the neighborhood who were going through particularly difficult financial times.

We weren’t starving, but the lunch certainly helped. And while some view programs like this is a handout, that isn’t always the case as they can be a great benefit to communities. Although not everyone agrees, this seems to be the case with a recent trend in schools helping out struggling families by feeding children an extra meal before sending them home for the day.

In light of the economic downturn, there have been a number of schools that have begun serving students supper in addition to the breakfast and lunch they’re already being provided during a typical day at school. (more…)

The Obamacare Vote and How it Affects the Health of Americans

Within the next two days, The Supreme Court will argue whether or not President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is constitutional. And although the court will likely reach a decision, it then retreats to take several months’ deliberation time, which means Americans won’t know the outcome of their decision until late June.

In short, the Supreme Court will make be making two decisions: Whether Congress can require Americans to carry health insurance. If they say ‘yes,’ the whole health care law stands. And if they say no, the second decision to be made is whether or not the rest of the reform can survive without the mandate.

An article in the New York Daily News states that “if the law stands without the mandate, it will cost more to insure fewer people.” According to a study conducted by Rand Corp, it’s estimated that by 2015, 27 million Americans would have health insurance coverage under the law with an individual mandate, as compared to 15 million Americans without the mandate. This leaves 12 million fewer insured, but it would cost the government more. (more…)

Conservatives and Liberals Make Different Food Choices

There are many ways that we identify ourselves, and one of our deepest set chosen identities tends to be political beliefs. Self-identified liberals and conservatives (rather than those that identify as “middle of the road”) tend to disagree strongly on a variety of subjects, from the size of government to taxation to gay marriage. A survey of 347, 949 Hunch.com users has identified that those who tend to support liberal or conservative politicians also disagree on what to eat.

Those who identified as liberal seem to be more likely to agree with what they read at DietsInReview. While conservatives were 65 percent more likely to eat fast food a few times per week, liberals were 92 percent more likely to eat fast food rarely or never. When it comes to french fries, conservatives consider McDonald’s the best of the best, while liberals are 64 percent more likely to prefer bistro-type fries.

Similar to their fast food choices, those who identify as conservative were 50 percent more likely to believe there is no significant difference between organic and processed food, while identifying yourself as a liberal makes you 28 percent more likely to disagree. Liberals are 29 percent more likely than conservatives to avoid soda and 27 percent as likely to drink only diet soda when they do. Those who identify as liberal are 28 percent more likely to eat fresh fruit daily, while those who identify as conservative are 35 percent more likely to eat fresh fruit less than once per week.


What Michele Bachmann’s Presidency Would Mean for Your Family’s Health

Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann has recently announced her presidential candidacy. What will it mean for your health care if Bachmann ultimately wins the 2012 election?

According to her website, one of Bachmann’s top priorities is to repeal Obamacare because she considers its directives to be unconstitutional. As a constitutional conservative, Bachmann says on her website that she is a “champion of tea party values” and that “the solutions to our problems (don’t) come from Washington: more than ever, Washington IS the problem, and the real solutions will come from your businesses, your communities, your schools and the most basic and powerful unit of all, your families.”

This means that first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to increase health-responsibility within the government are sorely frowned upon by Bachmann. Bachmann calls Mrs. Obama’s push for breastfeeding and other such efforts to eradicate obesity and promote good health a “nanny state” tactic. Currently, Mrs. Obama’s campaigns focus on children’s health, fitness and nutrition as preventative care. Although she’s been at the brunt of Bachmann’s criticism recently, Mrs. Obama isn’t the only first lady to push legislation with health initiatives. Both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan were known for their persistence with health-related campaigns.