Michelle Obama’s newest health campaign push is persuading Americans to drink more water.
How intense is the First Lady's initiative?
It got all the way to NBC's "Today" Thursday morning. The show aired a special message from Obama, who says in the spot that she's "stolen Matt and Savannah's mugs and exchanged them for water glasses" to get her point across.
"You are what you drink," Obama concludes. "And when you drink water, you're at your best...so drink up!"
When the "Today" hosts are soon seen with water glasses aloft, ready to do what Obama requests, Savannah Guthrie replies quite dryly, "If you say so."
“I’ve come to realize that if we were going to take just one step to make ourselves and our families healthier, probably the single best thing we could do is to simply drink more water,” Obama notes in a press release regarding her “#drink H2O" initiative. “That’s it – it’s really that simple. Drink just one more glass of water a day and you can make a real difference for your health, your energy, and the way you feel.”
But experts say that conclusion is all wet.
“There really isn’t data to support this,” Dr. Stanley Goldfarb of the University of Pennsylvania tells Politico. “I think, unfortunately, frankly, they’re not basing this on really hard science. It’s not a very scientific approach they’ve taken. … To make it a major public health effort, I think I would say it’s bizarre.”
Sam Kass — the White House assistant chef and director of Let’s Move — cites obesity as one of the ills that could be reduced through more water consumption.
“We do have a quarter of kids who drink no water under the age of 19. And over 40 percent of Americans aren’t even drinking half the water we know is recommended for optimum health," he told reporters in a conference call Wednesday.
Goldfarb, a kidney specialist, is troubled by White House claims that drinking more water boosts energy, calling that conclusion "quixotic."
“We’re designed to drink when we’re thirsty," Goldfarb adds. "There’s no need to have more than that.”
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama jokes with schoolchildren with White House chef Sam Kass (L) after planting the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House April 4, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Getty Images)
“The key is drinking water is great and replacing all the junk we drink with water would be fantastic,” said Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina. “Water is the best thing we could drink. … But the Kass arguments do not fit our science of water and dehydration as much as he is pushing.”
A White House official who asked not to be named tells Politico that the "#drink H2O" campaign won't urge Americans to drink a certain number of glasses of water per day, only "to drink more water."
Check out Obama's special message to NBC's "Today" (and Guthrie's reaction) via YouTube:
Obama was scheduled to deliver a speech Thursday in Watertown, Wis. — no word if the city's moniker is circumstantial — that declares increasing water consumption improves health.
Here's a report from WTMJ-TV:
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)