Michelle Obama's "Drink Up" Campaign Proves Controversial

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A splash of criticism has struck the First Lady's brand-new "Drink Up" campaign.

On Thursday, Michelle Obama took a trip down to Watertown, Wisconsin, to promote her brand-new "Drink Up" initiative. (Yup: Watertown. Geddit?) "Drink Up" is pretty much what it sounds like: encouraging regular Americans to drink more water, because "just one extra glass of water a day" can have unforeseen health benefits, says Ms. Obama. 

Indicative perhaps of our insane contrarian political climate, this campaign is apparently controversial. 

Some experts are in fact insisting that drinking more water is a "bizarre" premise on which to base an large-scale health campaign.

In recent years, everyone from Reuters to NPR to Mother Jones have blasted the "myth" that people should be drinking eight glasses of water a day — or that Americans aren't drinking enough water to begin with. Aside from athletes and those with specific diseases, scientists have said, there are no proven health benefits to drinking that much water.

Indeed, the "eight glasses a day" thing appears to be an old wives' tale — kind of like how you might grow a tree in your stomach if you eat apple seeds. Some studies have indicated that drinking water can cut down on obesity, and aid dieting — but that's probably because water suppresses appetite a little.

Said Michelle:

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. 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.

The White House assistant chef backed her up: "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.”

Except there's no such thing as "drinking no water." Water is in all food and drink, so it'd be exceedingly hard, not to mention fatal, to not get any of it. So much water abounds in food, in fact, that by throwing out the $1 billion-plus worth of food every year, we're also wasting a ton of water.

The First Lady's "Drink Up" effort is part of her larger Let's Move campaign, which encourages a healthier lifestyle for all Americans — partially to combat the country's growing problem with childhood obesity. Water is, after all, certainly a better alternative to soda.

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