Our View: The enemy is us* (and Congress)

November 29, 2011 12:47:00 PM



Pizza is a vegetable. (Thank you, Congress.) 


And if your child gets too fat, he or she might end up a ward of the state. (Thank you, state of Ohio.) 


Last month, an 8-year-old from Cleveland Heights, Ohio was taken from his family. The third-grader weighed more than 200 pounds. 


Family services decided that was a type of neglect, serious enough to place him in foster care. 


Some would agree. 


In Mississippi, we understand the need to combat obesity. We are, after all, perpetually hovering at the top in adult and childhood obesity. 


Then come the scary statistics - diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure. We're hovering at the top on those, too. 


But do we want the battle against obesity waged in our homes by a government that has declared pizza a vegetable? 


No one can make a compelling argument against charging parents with teaching their children healthy habits from a young age. 


When children grow up in an environment where they are allowed to remain sedentary, overeat and indulge in calorie-laden foods, they can almost surely count on a lifetime of weight and health problems. 


Parents and those in the home can make more of an impact on children's eating and exercise habits than anyone else. 


We can't figure out if the government is trying to help us or hurt us in that regard. 


Congress seems to have sided with the frozen-food industry over the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who suggested a healthy makeover for school lunches. They were calling for fewer potatoes (i.e. French fries) and more whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. 


Instead, we're counting pizza as a vegetable, as long as it has 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce slathered on the crust. 


But we digress. 


We have to make a phone call: Hello, Pizza Hut; yes, we'd like pepperoni, sausage and bacon on our thick-crust vegetables. 


*With thanks to Pogo.