Tackling Childhood Health Problems.

President Obama created a task force today that will be part of First Lady Michelle Obama's effort to address childhood obesity:

Members of the task force include: the Secretary of the Interior; the Secretary of Agriculture; Secretary of Health and Human Services; Secretary of Education; Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady; Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; and heads of other executive departments, agencies, or offices as the Chair may designate.

Arguments over whether to do things like tax soda or ban junk food in schools usually break down when someone tries to argue that it means the government is telling you what to do. But it seems absurd to expand that argument to what children eat and whether they exercise, since children spend much of their time at schools and many do the bulk of their eating there. What they're given to eat and whether they're taught to be active can have a big influence over how they grow.

Which is why I wish the task force could have included the anonymous teacher who has committed to eating school lunch every day in 2010. She pointed out a few days ago that, for many kids, school lunch might be the best meal they have all day. For others, it's the only meal. So demanding that children, whose biggest education on nutrition comes from a school that frequently feeds them pizza, grow into adults who know how bad too much fatty food is for you is a bit unrealistic.

-- Monica Potts

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