The campaign against obesity launched just over a year ago by Michelle Obama
has attracted its share of criticism and derision from conservatives such as Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann accused the first lady
last month of trying to create a "nanny state" because of her proposal to encourage breastfeeding as a way to reduce the childhood obesity problem. Palin told conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham
last November, "What [Mrs. Obama] is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat." And Limbaugh recently called her a hypocrite
for preaching good nutrition habits but tucking into a meal of chili short ribs on a recent skiing trip.
(Not all conservatives share those negative views. On some of the Sunday talk shows last month, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie, both politicians who have wrestled with their own weight problems, defended Mrs. Obama's anti-obesity efforts
But a new Pew Research Center poll
, conducted Feb. 22-March 1, makes clear that Republicans and adherents of the tea party movement are strongly against government involvement in efforts to tackle weight issues.
Americans overall support a "significant role" for government when it comes to reducing obesity. Fifty-seven percent say the government should be involved compared to 39 percent who disagree, with 3 percent undecided. That said, the public does not think the fight against obesity should be a top government priority, with only 19 percent of those surveyed saying that it should.
However, 57 percent of Republicans say the government should not be involved, and the percentage is a little higher among those who describe themselves as conservative (61 percent).
Sixty-five percent of those who agree with the tea party movement say the government should not play a role.
Seventy-one percent of Democrats favor a government role, as do 57 percent of independents.
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