Ivanka Trump's tweet about healthy-children programs backfires

Elise Solé

A tweet from Ivanka Trump emphasizing healthy lifestyles for children initiated backlash over the administration’s approach to health care.

On Sunday the first daughter tweeted, “We need to promote healthy lifestyles for America’s youth. In a recent survey, 9.5 million U.S. children reported that they did NOT once participate in any of over 100 sports or activities listed.”

Mark Hertling, a retired 37-year Army general, tweeted back, ”Ummm…there’s this thing called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition. Been around 60 years. Used to have 25 appointees…I was one of them. @MichelleObama helped & generated momentum in this area. No one is on the Council now. @FitnessGov. Check it out.”

Hertling’s comments were in reference to Trump’s various changes to the Obama administration’s children’s health programs.

Ivanka Trump’s tweet to promote healthier living for children wasn’t well received. (Photo: Getty Images)

In February the president reworded the title of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, swapping the order of “Fitness” and “Sports” to emphasize team sports. On the website for the modified initiative, not only are the council co-chairs and members omitted (the page states, “To be announced”), its content was last reviewed on March 21, 2017, suggesting its low priority on the Trump agenda.

And in May 2017, according to Reuters, Sonny Perdue, Trump’s secretary of agriculture, announced changes to school lunch programs, such as serving fewer whole grains and fattier milk. Under Obama, the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act required schools to serve more produce, cut sodium, and set maximum calorie limits, as part of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

Hertling also tweeted, “One more thing…it falls under @HHSGov Ask their secretary…oh, never mind.”

He may have been referring to recent chaos in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services — Secretary Tom Price resigned in September after criticism about his use of expensive private jets and was replaced by Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical rep.

Ivanka’s tweet also earned criticism from those opposing the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), one of the current president’s long-term goals.

And some found Ivanka’s message hypocritical because of the president’s love of fast food and his current weight, which experts say is nearing obesity, despite the White House physician noting his “excellent” health.

One remaining Obama effort is the White House Kitchen Garden, which Melania Trump used in September, inviting local schoolchildren to plant vegetables. “I’m a big believer in healthy eating because it reflects on your mind and your body,” Melania said, according to Politico. “I encourage you to continue to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, so you grow up healthy and take care of yourself.”

Michelle Obama planted the garden in 2009, to provide fresh vegetables to the staff, and it ultimately triggered the idea for “Let’s Move.”

Melania Trump in the White House Kitchen Garden in September, planting vegetables with local schoolchildren. (Photo: Getty Images)

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