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Palin's reckless views on obesity

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Senior Political Contributor
  • Roland Martin says Sarah Palin slammed Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" anti-obesity campaign
  • He says Obama's site says obesity tripled in 30 years, diabetes in kids is up
  • He says a group of generals told Congress increasingly people are too overweight to serve
  • Martin: Palin's comments show she is reckless about the nation's health

Editor's note: Roland Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, Washington Watch with Roland Martin.

(CNN) -- It's clear that we can't go 24 hours without Sarah Palin saying something so stupid that it defies logic, but leave it to the Kim Kardashian of politics to find something wrong with first lady Michelle Obama's effort to curb obesity in America's kids.

In a radio interview on Wednesday with conservative talker Laura Ingraham, Palin took dead aim at the first lady's "Let's Move" initiative, which is all about getting children active and involved in exercise and healthy eating.

In the wacky world of Wasilla's finest, Palin tries to cast the effort to fight obesity as part of Michelle Obama's "different worldview."

Here is a portion of the transcript from "Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat.

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"And I know I'm going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician's wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track."

Hmmm. "Let's Move" is Obama's "kick?" Maybe someone should kick Sarah Palin so she can understand how devastating obesity is to the future of the United States.

According to the first lady's "Let's Move" website:

Obesity rates among children have tripled in the last three decades, and one in three children are obese.

One-third of all children born after 2000 will suffer from diabetes.

Children are less active today than at any other time in American history, spending 7.5 hours a day watching TV, playing video games or simply involved in efforts that don't require movement.

Obesity is contributing to the vast increase in hypertension among Americans.

Now, since Palin is always talking about our nation's military and how we have to honor them and show them love and affection, let's listen to what a group of generals said a few months ago about obesity and America's national defense.

A study released in April by Mission: Readiness, a nonprofit group of more than 150 retired generals and admirals, concluded that 27 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are too fat to join the military.

The culprit? Junk food and too much fat in school lunches.

Said the study: "Today, otherwise excellent recruiting prospects, some of them with generations of sterling military service in their family history, are being turned away because they are just too overweight. Our standards are high because we clearly cannot have people in our command who are not up to the job. Too many lives depend on it."

In testimony before Congress, the former head of the California Army National Guard, retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Paul Monroe, said that "80 percent of children who were overweight between the ages of 10 to 15 were obese by age 25."

He and other military leaders want Congress to enact a massive child nutrition bill to remove all junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, improve nutrition standards in schools, upgrade school menus and, the group said, "help develop new school-based strategies, based on research, that help parents and children adopt healthier lifelong eating and exercise habits."

Monroe testified: "In 1946, Congress passed the National School Lunch Act as a matter of national security. In the past, retired admirals and generals have stood up to make it clear that America is only as healthy as our nation's children. Childhood obesity is now undermining our national security and we need to start turning it around today."

So, Sarah Palin, are you going to also rip into this decorated American and say that he and 150 other military leaders are dead wrong?

I recently sat down with Michelle Obama for a prime time special on TV One cable network dedicated to her "Let's Move" initiative. It was startling to listen to her talk about the horrible statistics and the shape we'll be in in the future, figuratively and literally.

"The crisis that we're facing around childhood obesity hits everything," Obama said. "It's about education, what our kids are learning about nutrition in the schools, the quality of the food in the schools. It's about our neighborhood development. How are neighborhoods designed?

"Are our kids -- do they have access to safe places to play? Are we structuring communities in a way that facilitates healthy living? Are there accessible and affordable healthy foods in our communities? And it's about economic opportunity as well, because if folks can't afford to put food on the table, then they're eating what they can.

"So this is one of those issues that requires us to talk about a little bit of everything. And it makes us look at ourselves a little more closely and it makes us look at the broader society. So we're beginning to understand this is a threat."

This latest broadside by Palin shows how reckless and ridiculous she is.

Libertarians and far right conservative Republicans are always talking about government intrusion into our lives, but when we look at clean water, air quality and food supply, thank God for governmental standards.

Don't think for a second I'm not paying attention. I've increased my health awareness, am changing my diet and working out more to lose weight, and am pushing family members to do the same. That's really the whole point of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move."

Any Republican with common sense should see that Sarah Palin poses an immediate threat to the future of this country. She proves that every time she opens her mouth.

Sarah, for the benefit of the nation, stick a fork in it.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.