Just when businesses were almost done with cutting the flab, comes news of another load-shedding. It seems the US is planning to make a 12-figure cut and no, it has nothing to do with budget deficits or troop pullouts, but is part of another American war: on childhood obesity. After making Americans and the rest of the world spend billions on stroke-inducing goodies, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation — a consortium of food firms like Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Kellogg and PepsiCo — has pledged to shed a trillion calories by the end of 2012 and 1.5 trillion by end-2015, as part of the “Let’s Move!” campaign, led by none other than the svelte US First Lady, Michelle Obama.
After pottering about in her backyard vegetable patch and leading a flabby nation by example, she is now busy throwing her weight behind the battle against the ballooning waistlines of the young and the listless. Now, cynics might scoff at the move, which comes as a result of some healthy research by the White House’s Childhood Obesity Task Force, but perhaps the world would be a better place if American kids learnt that a stable world-view had nothing to do with balancing a Super Slurper and a Big Mac in both hands.
We must admit that the news does bring the happy thought that there’s not even a slim chance of us back home having to grapple with a similar problem. But then all this calorie cutting might just come as great news for countries that continue to happily loll about at the bottom of global nutrition charts. Faced with slim pickings back home, it’s only a matter of time before these messiahs of good health start spreading their wholesome message to distant shores. But then, having only recently experienced the joys of the million-calorie meal, we can only hope that it takes a while before we have to shape up and cut the carb.