Michelle Obama speech to GMA

Michelle Obama to Food Makers (Politely): Stop Fattening Our Children

At an address yesterday, the first lady issued a call to action for food makers and marketers. And they seemed to accept it.
by Marian Burros

Michelle Obama to Food Makers (Politely): Stop Fattening Our Children

Michelle Obama challenged food makers to make and market healthier food. Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton.

RODALE NEWS, WASHINGTON, DC—Michelle Obama scolded the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) at their meeting in Washington on Tuesday for not doing enough to reduce childhood obesity—and, in fact, for contributing to it. But if the assembled representatives of PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Kraft, Krispy Kreme, McDonald's, ConAgra, and other food and beverage manufacturers and fast-food chains were offended by the criticism, they never let on. Instead they laughed in all the right places, and gave her a standing ovation.

THE DETAILS: A press release for the lobbying group said GMA members are “enthusiastic supporters of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative and its goal of solving childhood obesity.”

Do they have a choice?

It's not the first time that the food industry has been censured for its contribution to the childhood-obesity epidemic. Part of what makes the food makers willing to turn the other cheek is that this time they were upbraided by the first lady—not some Nutritional Nazi, as they've described most people who have criticized them in the past. And another part of it is that they don’t want to buck the trend toward more healthful food. And certainly part of their acceptance is due to Mrs. Obama's skill at mixing praise with criticism and humor. She complimented them on what they have done right, she pleaded with them as parents, she appealed to their better natures.

In conversations with several officials of the association after her speech, they offered supportive statements: “We’ve never had this kind of leadership at the White House.” “She didn’t talk about blame.” “She didn’t say there are good foods and bad foods.” In fact, GMA insists that its members have already done a lot of what Mrs. Obama is suggesting: reducing the fat, calories, sugar or salt in 10,000 products, and following voluntary guidelines about what is advertised on children's programming. So, problem solved, right?


Published on: March 16, 2010

More from our Authors

The 12-day power plan to flush toxins, balance hormones, and reset your body's most essential organ.

If you or someone who is

If you or someone who is going to have lunch with you are looking for a special request in your order, you must check that in advance. Special requests can include a less salt food, onion less food, etc. If the restaurant entertains special requests, it signifies that it values the customer choice and is willing to go an extra step to prove that. Damas Falafel House

Nice work

I am speechless. This is a fantastic site and very engaging too. Excellent work! That’s not really much coming from an amateur publisher like me, but it’s all I could think after enjoying your posts. Not like other site. You really know what you’re talking about too. So much that you made me want to explore more. Your blog has become a stepping stone for me, my friend. Thanks for the detailed journey.

ya right

mennn they iz talking about child obesity and the kfc an mcdonald s are making promotions so you "the fat kid" can still afford to eat a them , nice people like Aaron DelSignore understand this s***t and they are truing to make things better , by the way mcdonalds food is just soia with different flavors of monoglutamate (chicken,pork,etc)

Mrs. Obama's food insights

Fern Springs, MD Thank you for your informed comment above.
Mrs. Obama is definitely taking a step in the right direction. I hope the next thing she tackles is Big Ag, GMOs, and the up-holding of organic standards. And...speak to those issues enough that it leads to holding Multinational companies, like Momsanto, accountable to the public.


Good for Mrs. Obama... our children spent the first ten years or so of their lives out of the US so when they came here they did not know what all those packets were and we never told them. we never encouraged sodas or sugary stuff, or junk food. they are now healthy adults with good exercise habits, as are we. It is not that hard. Do not stuff the kids full of trash food. It breaks my heart to see a really obese child who looks uncomfortable ad shunned by others. Not to mention the consequences of juvenile diabetes, cardiac problems and arthritis. So sad...

Thank you Mrs. Obama

It is good that Mrs. Obama has taken advantage of her position and stepped forward to address the healthcare crisis from a position other than just that everyone needs health insurance. Everyone needs to take care of themselves and unfortunately many are adversely affected by advertising. The article clearing indicates she has a good understanding of the entire spectrum of influences on the choices children make. She not only asked companies to make more healthful products, she asked them for honesty about what's in the products, and to provide information in a clear manner. She also has entreated parents to help their children to make better choices, watch less TV, be more active, and grow a garden. There are many people over many decades who have made similar comments and recommendations but Mrs. Obama is in a position where people are watching her and listening to her. I'm sure I'm not alone in never having heard of Leanne Ely until today. Who hasn't heard of Michelle Obama? As a physician, I am in awe that she has taken this opportunity to redirect the light onto the children who are our nation's future. I'd like to see our Surgeon General doing more of the same. Thank you Mrs. Obama for being so brave and not just sitting in the shadows of the Presidency. Thank you for actively caring about the health of our nation.

What a shame!

That some people are so narrow minded that it doesn't matter what is being said so much as who it is that it saying it.


I am also a Leanne Ely fan...together, we can change the world, and give families the info they need to get their lives back!

Bottom Line: Don't buy the stuff, they'll stop making it.

I agree with the previous comment: if there's money to be made, they'll do it. It's the responsibility of parents not to buy the stuff that is total crap. My three kids all love fresh veggies and healthful foods--whole grain products, etc.--because that is what they've been fed! That is what their parents enjoy. Sure, they have sweet tooths, but we can whip up a batch of homemade cookies in 20 minutes with way less of the bad stuff and way more of the good stuff in it, with together time and a bit of math at the same time! We have allowed Corporate America to steal way too much of our lives and health and family from us--time to reverse that trend. Also: my kids would NEVER get to watch TV for the amount of time that this article suggests we should "cut back" to, unless they were too sick to play or read. Just sayin'.

Not a fan but agree with this

I'm not an Obama fan... not by a long shot. But I have to say... she's right on about this. Keep it up Mrs. Obama! You might get a new fan yet. :-)

Of course... Leanne Ely with Saving Dinner has been saying this for years. :)

healthy food

Manufacturers and suppliers will "agree to" anything and keep doing as they please... of course, if there is more profit to be made, they will do it.

Start Your Wellness Journey!
Sign up for updates on Rodale Wellness and get your FREE wellness journal to help you find your path to vibrant health. Click here to start your unique journey!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on all of our wellness news.

  The Daily Fix
Useful news and practical tips to help you live a healthy life on a healthier planet.

  Wellness in Action
Find your path to vibrant health, and get your free wellness journal as our thanks!

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Your Privacy Rights. About Us.