To clear-thinking people, the nation's epidemic of obese children has an obvious cause--bad parenting. No amount of government intervention nor hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars can change that, but Michelle Obama and progressives will try. A recently published UCLA study shows just how misguided they are.
Santa Paula, Oxnard, and Port Hueneme had some of the highest weights of obesity in the state. The Star wrote an insightful article on why this might be the case, and how government programs to addres the problem are failing.
People can choose to blame weight issues among children in Ventura County on school cafeterias. They can criticize cities for providing too few parks. They can wag a finger at the convenience store a half-block from a Boys & Girls Club in Port Hueneme or the Jack in the Box beyond that.
But Jimmy Lambaren, a machine operator who likes to cook and insists his 12-year-old son works out regularly, thinks they need a mirror.
"It's the parents' fault," he said outside the Boys & Girls Club, remembering a recent trip to a fast-food joint where he refused to eat. "It was jam-packed. I said, 'These are people who don't like to cook a decent meal.' "
Jimmy Lambaren has more common sense than the First Lady and progressives who support throwing money at the problem.
Elementary schools in parts of Oxnard and Port Hueneme have salad bars. Hueneme High School in Oxnard offers water-only vending machines and a state-of-the-art weight training room. County public health officials are building a healthful-eating, active -living program funded by a $480,000 annual grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, it's becoming more and more clear that healthy eating habits can only be set by parents.
Leaders of some programs worry about funding during the state budget crisis. Others worry about what happens outside their doors.
"We can only control what they do for six hours," said Joy Epstein, principal at Sunkist Elementary School in Port Hueneme. "It's outside factors."
Steffanie Elliott, a mother of two from Port Hueneme, rejects the argument that parents can't find fresh fruits and vegetables. They can but they don't.
All parents can find healthy food, can afford healthy food (and if they can't, they need to rearrange some priorities like their cell phone plans) and only they can give their kids healthy food to eat. Government nanny state programs are a waste of money, ineffective, and lets it intrude into our lives.