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Victory: Michelle Obama

FOR DITCHING THE FOOD PYRAMID.

According to the New York Times, the US Government is ditching the “Food Pyramid” for a new graphic which resembles a dinner plate.  Apparently, the primary criticism of the Food Pyramid is that it provided exactly zero useful information.

“The circular plate, which will be unveiled Thursday, is meant to give consumers a fast, easily grasped reminder of the basics of a healthy diet. It consists of four colored sections, for fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, according to several people who have been briefed on the change. Beside the plate is a smaller circle for dairy, suggesting a glass of low-fat milk or perhaps a yogurt cup.”

The change was apparently part of an initiative, spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, to get Americans to stop eating like shit, get up off their fat, lazy asses, and exercise.

Okay, maybe that isn’t the exact wording of the First Lady’s initiative, but you get the idea…

Anyway, the new food logo is simple enough for even the most cognitively-challenged obese American to understand.  For example, the fruits and vegetables portion of the graphic takes up about half of the circle, suggesting that half of your dinner plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables.

Oh, yeah.

And Michael Moore is still fat.

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Categories: Victories and Defeats
  1. DavidP
    May 31, 2011 at 7:40 am

    So Michelle Obama can claim victory over obesity because with her new pie chart suddenly everyone will understand proper nutrition.

    Or just about everybody had sufficient understanding of nutrition but used their free will to eat what they wanted even knowing much of it was bad for them.

    And the new chart will have no effect what so ever. But it makes for a great photo-op and just think of all the wasted tax dollars making and distributing new pie charts, what a victory.

    • May 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

      David P:

      My responses inline below.

      Thanks,
      M.L.

      “So Michelle Obama can claim victory over obesity because with her new pie chart”

      – Nope. Never said that.

      “suddenly everyone will understand proper nutrition.”

      – Uh, Nope. Never said that either.

      “Or just about everybody had sufficient understanding of nutrition but used their free will to eat what they wanted even knowing much of it was bad for them.”

      – Actually, most Americans have no idea about proper nutrition. According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, people can’t even read nutrition labels. For example, only 37% of people surveyed could calculate the number of carbohydrates in a bottle of Coca-Cola.(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379706002819)

      – This is why the new graphic is such a good idea. It is easy enough for even the stupidest of morons to understand. And lets face it – there are a lot of morons in America.

      “And the new chart will have no effect what so ever. But it makes for a great photo-op and just think of all the wasted tax dollars making and distributing new pie charts, what a victory.

      The government will spend about $2 million to promote the new graphic. According to the journal Health Affairs, obesity in America costs $147 billion in medical expenses. That means even if the new initiative only affects 1/10th of 1%, it will have paid for itself.

  2. DavidP
    June 1, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Oh, I am sorry. I had the impression from reading this blog for awhile that you understood and could recognize sarcasm. I apologize for my misconception.

    I also never claimed you said either of the things you seem to think I attributed to you. I apologize for your misconception.

    The US Government, through the school system, has been teaching one version or another of the food pyramid for over 3 decades. So if that effort results in “only 37% of people surveyed could calculate the number of carbohydrates in a bottle of Coca-Cola” then why is a new graphic going to cause a paradigm shift in the American conscience?

    Over 2/3 of US adults are overweight or obese, so obviously even some of those 37% who can calculate the number of carbohydrates in a bottle of Coca-Cola still don’t follow a healthy diet. And the % of overweight/obese Americans has increased since the food pyramid was introduced. That seems to me to indicate that it isn’t a knowledge issue but a relatively conscious decision to eat a given food despite the negative impact.

    I believe it is an attitude similar to the American love of big cars/SUVs. I don’t believe anyone is moronic enough not to realize an SUV that gets 20 mpg will use more gas and cost more than a compact that gets 40 mpg, but until recently more of the 20 mpg vehicles where sold than the 40 mpg. There has been a recent change but not because people have been educated about what gas mileage is by a new graphic but because the cost of operating the 20 mpg vehicle, with increased gas prices and the bad economy, reached a point where many people decided the cost wasn’t worth the perceived benefit.

    I doubt educating people with a new food circle will change 1/1000th of 1%. Short of taxes on ‘bad’ foods that make them prohibitively expensive, I don’t think the government can or should try and dictate the food choices of the people.

    • June 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      David P-

      Fair points, and perhaps the new graphic won’t make a difference – time will tell. However, the larger audience for this is probably school children. States will likely adopt the new Federal guidelines for teaching nutrition in schools (I remember learning the Food Pyramid). This new graphic is so much simpler. A kid can simply look at his plate and correlate that to the graphic. Seems like a better idea than the food pyramid.

      I take your point that more drastic measures will be required to stem the obesity epidemic among adults. I’d support taxes on processed/fast foods, increased co-pays for obese patients in medicare/medicade, and other measures which might help me to not have to pay for some fat ass to get his/her diabetes treatments.

      That said, this new graphic is sufficiently clever, simple, and (relatively) inexpensive that I think it’s worth a shot. Will it fix the problem? No, of course not. But I think it has a good chance of paying for itself and then some.

      BTW, the price tag of 2 million likely ignores sunk costs. In other words, the Fed Gov would have paid some or all of that sum just to maintain the status quo food pyramid. The actual price tag is probably lower.

      Thanks for the comments.

      M.L.

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