Published July 17, 2010
As the Obama administration sets its sights on overweight Americans, demanding obesity ratings for all citizens by 2014, the White House has promoted the Obamas' personal cook to a senior advisory position.
Sam Kass, the 20-something Chicago chef, is now the White House "Food Initiative Coordinator," Kass' title reportedly was upgraded last month from food initiative coordinator to senior policy adviser for health food initiatives. His duties have not changed.
The change comes as the Health and Human Services announced this week that under the stimulus law, health care providers must establish "meaningful use" of electronic health records to qualify for federal subsidies or risk seeing their Medicare and Medicaid payments slashed. The electronic health records must include Americans' body mass index, or BMI, height and weight.
Critics say the BMI is unreliable and the ratings will lead to more government intrusion.
Supporters say the ratings will serve as motivation for weight loss.
"The fact we're now tracking BMIs', I think knowledge is power for us," nutrition expert Mitzi Dulan told Fox News."There are a lot of people that don't know their BMI and it's denial.
Dulan noted that a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that $147 billion is spent annually on obesity-related costs, or 10 percent of medical costs.