Ever since President Barack Obama got elected to the White House, his snapshots, showing him gorging on every imaginable fast-food item, have been dominating the media space. Now it seems, the "Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine" (PCRM) has taken offense to Obama’s publicized photo-ops, especially those showing him enjoying his ‘meaty’ outings. Therefore, in a petition, the nonprofit advocacy group has asked the President to stop eating fast food in public or, at least, cut down on the occasions of these photo ops.
Whether it was wolfing down burgers with former Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in 2010 or bonding over hot dogs with the visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron in March 2012, President Obama has been eating a lot in the public eye. The food photo ops have been quite common since he took over the reigns of the country and here are a few examples:
These are just some of the instances where the Prez is seen enjoying his bite of fast food and now it is what is costing him some of his public stature.
In its petition, the PCRM, a group of dieticians, doctors, and researchers, have asked President to keep his fast-food photos private. Their main contention being that fast food is the major cause of diseases like cancer, heart problem, and obesity spreading like wild fire and with the Prez seemingly endorsing the same, it is difficult for public health advocates to wean people off junk food. Ulka Agarwal, the group’s Chief Medical Officer, said, “We would like the White House to stop publicizing these photos depicting the President, vice president or First Family eating unhealthy foods like hot dogs or pepperoni pizza that contain processed meat, or cheeseburgers or hamburgers that can contribute to obesity.” She further adds, “What they eat behind closed doors is their business, but at public events, they are role models.” Susan Levin, nutrition education director with the PCRM, adds, “As a role model to millions of Americans, the president has a responsibility to watch what he eats in public.”
What PCRM is demanding of the President is not much different from what the First Lady Michelle Obama has been advocating ever since she shifted home to the White House. Her “Let’s Move” campaign is also about promoting healthy way of living and cutting down on junk food consumption. Along with a fabulous White House kitchen garden, Michelle has also taken several other steps to popularize healthy eating among Americans. Therefore, when PCRM says that the group was in favor of photo ops like those showing the “President and his family eating a big green salad and whole grains,” at least Michelle should be listening, don’t you think so?
The petition, however, is not only against the Obamas but also against, at least “all recent Presidents and both major parties.” It accuses them of posting photos of them eating fast food, and thus, sending unhealthy messages into public. If you remember reading the blog about what the Presidential Race 2012 candidates were eating on the campaign trail, you may remember that none of the choices were healthy, to say the least. Sample a few examples:
The Group has also attacked former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan, for eating a hot dog, ice cream cone, and a Big Mac, respectively, on different occasions. The Group also intends to write to Romney asking him to eat more responsibly.
Not everyone is welcoming the PCRM move to take on President Obama. The petition, which has been signed by 1,200 people so far, has also invited its share of criticism as one restaurant-owners’ group, Center for Consumer Freedom, said, “PCRM is just another animal-rights group created to spread fear about perfectly safe food that’s not PETA-approved.” Another critic says, “PCRM’s Petition for Executive Action should be laughed right out of the White House.”
So, you see, not everyone is a saint out there but with Americans getting fatter and unhealthier, it is the responsibility of these very politicians to check what they are eating, at least, in public. In private, they may indulge in whatever catches their fancy.
Image Courtesy: hardgrubbin.blogspot.in