Study: First lady’s health-food push ‘moralistic, elitist burden’ on moms

Study: First lady’s health-food push ‘moralistic, elitist burden’ on moms
Raymons Maxwell (credit: Sharyl Attkisson)

A recently published study claims that the push for healthy, home-cooked family meals – pressure coming from famous “foodies,” public health officials and First Lady Michelle Obama – is actually a “moralistic … elitist … burden” on poor and working-class mothers.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made health food and exercise programs for children her signature issue. The study says she has been “influential in popularizing public health messages that emphasize the role that mothers play when it comes to helping children make healthy choices,” but that advice shames mothers into “unrealistic standards of ‘good’ mothering.”

The North Carolina State University study contends the notion of healthy, home-cooked meals is an “alluring” but “tasty illusion, one that is moralistic, and rather elitist, instead of a realistic vision of cooking today.”

The study further contends home cooking represents an “elite foodie standpoint,” as many of the working-class families the authors spoke to lacked necessary kitchen space, reliable transportation to the grocery store and functional appliances.

It’s also sexist, the study’s authors suggest, noting that “intentionally or not, it places the burden of a healthy home-cooked meal on women.”

Researchers spent 18 months conducting in-depth interviews with 150 black, white, and Latina mothers, as well as spent more than 250 hours in observation of 12 working-class and poor families to determine their results.

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