Group Attacks First Lady's Anti-Obesity Campaign

5:17 PM, Aug 11, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- First Lady Michelle Obama has taken on childhood obesity as one of her signature issues. But a group called the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance - NAAFA - is going after her Let's Move initiative. The initiative's goal is to end childhood obesity within one generation.

"When children of higher body weight hear that we need to wipe out childhood obesity in one generation, those words translate to we have to eliminate obese children," said Peggy Howell with NAAFA.

NAAFA's goal is to fight size discrimination and to make sure overweight people are accepted in society. But the Let's Move initiative isn't about acceptance. It's about change and reversing the rising childhood obesity rate.

"Let's Move is going to take families out of their isolation and give them the nationwide support that they need in a whole range of industries to get their kids on track to live healthier lives," said Michelle Obama in a Let's Move promotional video.

NAAFA calls the initiative well-intentioned, but misdirected.

"How this translates in real life is that these children experience more ridicule, more teasing, more bullying, and the perpetrators feel justified in their actions because, after all, the First Lady said these kids have to go," said Howell.

The First Lady's Press Office did not return our request for a comment.

NAAFA is now taking the fight to Capitol Hill. They're asking lawmakers to include overweight kids in the Safe Schools Improvement Act. It addresses the characteristics that could make a child a target of bullying - race, religion, and sexual orientation. NAAFA wants to add obesity to that list.

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