"I'll give you guys your own monument if you show me a good place
to hide the Halloween candy from Michelle."
Photo: Obama-Biden Transition Project

Politics aside, you’ve got to admire the way Michelle Obama keeps those arms of hers so firm and toned. All the better to throw her daughters under the BMI bus with. I’m referring to last week’s news about her getting a “wake-up call” from her daughters’ pediatrician about their BMIs sneaking up on them and her taking corrective action. And for a parent who pleaded with the media to respect her daughters’ privacy (and rightfully so), I found it shocking that in her efforts to tackle the childhood obesity problem, she would reach into her own family fold to underscore her point.

I posted on “Generation BMI” back in November and there was some excellent commentary that followed. Upon researching further, I learned that experts generally have the opinion that girls who develop eating disorders do so between ages eleven and fourteen. The eldest Obama child is eleven. Imagine being an adolescent on such an international stage in the first place. Do you remember the confusing mix of emotions when you were that age? The desire to fit in and the self-consciousness of your every move? It’s bad enough to have to grow up in the public eye where people are scrutinizing everything you do, but when your mother calls you out about your BMI, well, that’s just a boatload of therapy waiting to happen.

I’ll grant you that childhood obesity is a serious problem but I don’t think using your children as examples on the world stage is the way to go. Yes, it personalizes your passion but let’s remember that these children never signed up for this fishbowl existence in the first place. That was their parents’ decision and they would do well to keep their girls as sheltered as possible. But now that the BMI genie is out of the bottle, the cute vacation scenes of the First Family going out for ice cream will take on a whole different meaning. “Dear, are you sure you should be eating that?” Please tell me that’s never going to happen.

I leave open the possibility that I’m just getting crankier in my old age and most of you won’t see a thing wrong with this. I believe that open dialogue is a good thing against bad problems but I wish adults would leave their children out of mature matters until they’re old enough to make their own decision on whether or not they want to be involved; especially when it’s on such a personal level. Looking out for our children's well-being is every parent’s responsibility - and that goes for their fragile little psyches, too.

What do you think? Should Mama Obama keep the family BMI to herself or are the daughters fair game in this childhood obesity battle?

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