The key to fighting childhood obesity?


Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign is in the middle of an advertising blitz—seemingly every other commercial during Sunday's morning talk shows invited me to visit letsmove.gov—that offers some novel advice: Don't bother telling your children why they should eat well and exercise. Manipulate them!

One ad shows a group of boys playing video games. Then the power goes out, and they decide to play basketball instead. We find out at the end that Mom had flipped the circuit breaker.

In another ad, a girl asks Mom for a dollar; Mom says she may have left her purse in a series of rooms around the house, between which the girl runs. Winded, the girl finally comes back to Mom, who had the purse the whole time.

As a twenty-something who aspires to parenthood one day, I'm relieved. I always thought that raising healthy children took more than just flipping a switch. Serving healthy food at home, tossing the baseball out back, explaining why any of that matters, so that they grow into adults who cultivate their own good habits. But these commercials are right. That would involve actually talking to our children, or changing a few bad habits of our own. Deceit's much better.

Stephen Stromberg is a Post editorial writer. He specializes in domestic policy, including energy, the environment, legal affairs and public health.

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