Michelle Obama’s MyPlate food guide a spectacular failure
posted at 5:03 pm on December 21, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Mediabistro has delivered a stinging rebuke of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who was reportedly overheard at Reagan National Airport opining that First Lady Michelle Obama “lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.” Betsy Rothstein, who penned the column, was so incensed by the congressman’s disrespectful remarks that she fired back a taunt worthy of any elementary school yard, saying he “has no business discussing fat asses while having quite the big butt himself.”
But Sensenbrenner’s dig is the least of Mrs. Obama’s problems. NPD Group, a market research company, reported on Tuesday that the First Lady’s $2 million “MyPlate” food guide is an appalling failure.
AFP RelaxNews notes via the New York Daily News:
Using its National Eating Trends statistics, which have been tracking the eating and drinking habits of US consumers for 30 years, … NPD Group found that only two percent of Americans’ diets—equal to about seven days a year—come close to the US Department of Agriculture’s new dietary guidelines launched this summer.
The report further observed that the few times Americans did manage to satisfy nutritional requirements, they were likely to consume more than three meals a day, thereby undoing any positive effects.
Mrs. Obama launched the new plate icon—a retooling of the decades-old Food Guide Pyramid—earlier this year. The goal was to aid consumers in determining relative portion size. But as with previous initiatives, including the Nutrition Facts panels mandated for product labels, Americans just aren’t that interested in playing with their food.
And that goes double for the younger ones. The blog My Food My Choice reports that students in the Los Angeles Unified School District have turned their noses up at the recently imposed school lunch menus that replace cheeseburgers and fries with black bean burgers, tostada salad, and fresh pears. The post quotes the Los Angeles Times as noting that
[m]any of the meals are being rejected en masse. Participation in the school lunch program has dropped by thousands of students. Principals report massive waste, with unopened milk cartons and uneaten entrees being thrown away. Students are ditching lunch, and some say they’re suffering from headaches, stomach pains and even anemia. At many campuses, an underground market for chips, candy, fast-food burgers and other taboo fare is thriving.
Which has the left the district’s food service director with little choice but to reinstate the old menu:
Hamburgers will be offered daily. Some of the more exotic dishes are out, including the beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, pad Thai, lentil and brown rice cutlets, and quinoa and black-eyed pea salads. And the Caribbean meatball sauce will be changed to the more familiar teriyaki flavor.
If there is a message in this for the First Lady it is that Americans aren’t keen on having the government dictate what they can and can’t eat. And if they were, they wouldn’t want the message coming from someone with a large … er—appetite.
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