Each First Lady traditionally picks an "issue" for them to advocate for when they are in office. It's become a tradition.
Lady Bird Johnson famously wanted to "Keep America Beautiful" and slow down littering. Nancy Reagan had the "Just Say No" program. Betty Ford campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment, breast cancer prevention, and against substance abuse. Rosalynn Carter worked for refugees around the world as an advocate, and Hillary Clinton told us that "It takes a village" to raise a child. Both Barbara Bush and Laura Bush pushed literacy.
In short, it's not unfamiliar for a First Lady to choose an issue...even a controversial one...to work on while they are First Lady and often after they are out of office.
The move sent the far right into a tizzy. They accused the First Lady of trying to usurp parental authority and force healthy food on America's families. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and others roundly criticized Obama and others even derided her efforts.
A funny thing happened, though. Legislation to improve school lunch offerings did follow. An initiative called "Just Move" was founded. Other groups like the NFL played up its "Play 60" initiative. Suddenly, the War on Childhood Obesity appears to be a war the United States is winning.
The Huffington Post reports that Childhood Obesity is starting to decline in the United States. A report from the Centers for Disease Control that the HuffPo cited in its article says that we are far from solving the issue, but this generation of parents, kids, and families are making a dent in the issue.
It's great that we are making a dent in the obesity problem this nation faces. Not only is it a public health issue, but it's an economic issue, too. Let's hope the positive momentum continues.
Finally, it's time for the right to just shut up on this issue. Just shut up. When keeping kids healthy becomes a campaign issue, it's really time to zip it. Give Michelle Obama her due credit on this one.