Michelle: ‘Let’s Move;’ Sebelius: No, Let’s Not

March 13, 2012 - 8:52 AM
HHS Secretary's Claim Clashes With First Lady's Goal

Defending the concept of “food deserts” last week, HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said a mile may be too far for families to walk to get healthier foods. But, First Lady Michelle Obama says kids should walk 4-5 times that far every day, and adults should walk more than three times that far.

Challenged by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) regarding the administration’s definition of a “food desert” (being a mile away from a grocery store), HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House hearing last week:

“Well, I think it’s very difficult for a family buying groceries – if they have to walk a mile with bags of groceries, it may be too far to get healthier food.”

“You really think that?” Rep. Kingston asked.

“I do,” Sebelius replied.

But, according to First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, both kids and adults are supposed to walk several times that far – every day.

The “Let’s Move” website says that, if you’re under 18, “You can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (girls’ goal: 11,000; boys’ goal: 13,000).”

For adults, Michelle’s website says the goal is 8,500 steps.

But, wait, you say – how many steps are in a mile? 2,640, apparently.

So, if you’re a boy, you should walk nearly five miles a day (13,000 divided by 2,640 = 4.92), and if you’re a girl, you should walk more than four miles (11,000 divided by 2,640 = 4.17).

For adults, it comes out to 3.22 miles a day (8,500 divided by 2,640).

Of course, there is the added burden of carrying bags of groceries. But, if you’re on the Obama diet, how much can a bag of steak and arugula possibly weight?

And, here’s a wacky idea: if a mile is too far to carry groceries, why not take the bus – or, the family car, since the average household has 1.9 of them.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) says there are more vehicles per household than there are drivers. And, they've got nearly one adult-sized bike per household, too, so they could just put the grocery bags in the little basket on the handlebars.

So, who’s right? What does this mean? Are we supposed to “move” or not?

Maybe, Sebelius should take a walk over the White House so she and the First Lady can come to an agreement.

‘Till then, might as well stay put, I guess.

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