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Cartoon Pyramids, Computer Games and School Lunches

The Washington Post and ABCs World News Tonight jumped on childhood obesity again this week, ignoring personal choice when it comes to eating, while NBCs Today called for Big Brother to do more.

On September 28 the government unveiled a child food pyramid at www.mypyramid.gov. The pyramid is essentially the same as the adult one, but this one includes little cartoons of kids at a picnic, a child walking her dog, a kid stretching, etc. There is a game on the site which is played by filling up MyPyramid rocket ship with smart food choices and 60 minutes of physical activity to fly to Planet Power! according to the games instructions.

According to World News Tonight reporter Lisa Stark on September 28, The government is now trying to compete with numerous computer games. Stark called the challenge for the government winning over kids with the healthy food game. Stark did not give a reason why the government should meddle in peoples private affairs, including which video games their children play.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said that the pyramid and game were created as something that would be fun according to USA Today on September 29. Yet the game does not change and only involves moving food and exercise from the top of the screen to the rocket hardly a fun-filled game.

The Washington Post criticized the new pyramid on September 29, saying that it didnt do enough. The Posts Sally Squires quoted Michael Jacobson of the left-wing Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI condemns almost any non-vegan diet, yet the Post only identified it as a Washington-based nutrition advocacy group. Jacobson stated, It's basically warmed-over, namby-pamby nutrition advice that comes out of the 1950s. If the administration were serious about this, they would get junk food out of schools, junk food ads off of children's television shows and calories listed on fast-food menu boards.

The Post didnt seem bothered that the government has taken it upon itself to attempt to control our eating habits. There are vast numbers of diet books and diet Web sites, yet Squires gave no reason why taxpayers should pay for even more nutritional advice when so much is already readily available.

NBCs Matt Lauer raised the question of cost on the September 29 Today. Lauer asked the naked chef Jamie Oliver if it costs more to have organic foods in schools instead of what is being provided. Oliver quickly responded of course it does, but Lauer didnt mention that changing U.S. school menus would mean taxpayer-funded sprouts.

Todays segment addressed childrens eating habits, unrelated to the new food pyramid. Oliver bragged that he banned junk food in 56 schools in England, and now the kids have no choice. He said, And I had a month of hell, and they wanted to beat me up and banners and all that sort of stuff. He didnt mention individual decision making and the role of parents in raising their own kids instead of allowing activists to force their agenda on others. He continued that the priority of kids and nutrition, and having Big Brother, you know, the government caring for our kids at school is so important, to which Lauer responded, We're going to turn you loose on a school district over here.

The Washington Post further added that extra pounds fuel low self-esteem, depression and negative body image and extract a steep physical toll, experts say. Yet it did not mention the adverse affects of the government monitoring our eating habits. According to Londons Daily Telegraph on March 8, government anti-obesity programs can do damage. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology reported that that girls as young as five begin having problems with their body image, partly because of the Governments anti-obesity message.