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SIMMONS: Kids need exercise, not bureaucrats
First lady Michelle Obama’s decision to fight childhood obesity is a courageous battle of good intentions. There’s no need to cite the overwhelming statistics that prove America’s couch potatoes are breeding overweight spuds. And there’s no need to recite the growing list of corporations and nonprofits that are lining up to partake in the new Fight Fat Movement.
It is necessary, however, to point out what lurks in the recesses of the federal get-in-shape-quick scheme.
Generations of Americans who were weaned on genuine health and physical-education classes know that it doesn’t take the CDC or the first lady of the land to tell us that our youths are what they eat and a product of our own making.
Physical education fizzed out once we substituted health education for sex education, outlawed dodge ball as a bully’s sport and kicked gym class to the curb.
Even messages from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports were overshadowed by Oprah’s battle of the bulge and a metrosexual trend that left young people asking more questions than grown folk could answer.
And then came Mrs. Obama and her Mr.-Bush-broccoli-is-good-for-you agenda.
She even got Congress’ ears perked up. On April 21, the House passed the Fitness Integrated with Teaching Kids Act. It’s nickname is FIT, but it’s not fit to be passed by the Senate.
As expected, the bill would bog down teachers and administrators in red tape, such as telling the feds about their age-appropriate gym classes and curricula, and details on the gym facilities.
In other words, the legislation would force states and school districts to hire so many bureaucrats the schools wouldn’t be able to afford any gym teachers.
Does Mrs. Obama have ulterior motives?
Or does she simply want families to eat healthier and be more active?
If it’s the former, tax-and-spend liberals will soon be ramming more than a soda tax into our thinning wallets.
If it’s the latter, cut out a couple of the lattes, put down the Deborah Simmons romance novels, unplug the video gaming box, plug in Wii fitness or sports, and get busy.
We don’t need no stinking Federal Fitness Sheriff.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
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