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Darryl Roberts

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Open Letter to First Lady Michelle Obama

Posted: 11/01/11 06:16 PM ET

I'm Darryl Roberts, the director of the documentary "America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments." My new documentary takes a look at why I think BMI is misguided and how we can be healthy at a wide variety of sizes.

Before I get into that, I want to mention that we have some things in common, as I grew up 10 minutes from you on the south side of Chicago. I've watched you and your husband ascend and set an example as two people who care greatly for our country and are doing everything you can to make it a better place -- especially for our kids.

I wanted to write this letter because I'm sure you saw or heard about an article on Fox.com posted last Friday. I thought the interview was an interview about the film as a whole and it turned out to be a scathing indictment against you and the present government's policies.

Here is a link to the Fox article in case you haven't read it.

So to clarify, when I mentioned you putting your kids on display, I was referring to comments made in the film by Paul Campos, author of "The Obesity Myth," and he was referring to a comment that you made awhile ago, "I recall visiting the pediatrician and being warned that 'he was concerned that something was getting off-balance with my daughter.' I hadn't noticed the changes, and the doctor suggested that I take a look at my kids' BMI."

I realize like millions of other mothers you are dealing with information/statistics given to you by the government and doctors -- information I'm sure you feel affects the health of your children. I feel proud of you as a mother when I see how deeply you care about your two daughters, so I know you would do anything for them. Unfortunately, as I've outlined in my new film, some of the statistics that you've been given about BMI, obesity and how to deal with it just isn't true.

I don't have kids yet, so you may wonder where I get my compassion for our youth. My care and concern for our youth comes from the national tour that I did with my first film, "America the Beautiful," where I came across thousands of young girls that have had their youth affected in a deleterious way from either suffering from an eating disorder or having a low self-esteem stemming from some form of body image dilemma resulting from feeling too fat or not being skinny enough.

I think use of BMI (Body Mass Index) by doctors, our schools and the federal government leads the way in the body assault placed on our youth. In my humble opinion, the use of BMI needs to be re-examined. The focus on childhood obesity should be on eating healthy, not on shapes, sizes and looking thin. It's seems that you have shifted the focus of your campaign to exercise with the "Let's Move Campaign," and I applaud you for that.

If we could institutionalize your great message of exercise and eating a balanced meal, instead of dieting and focusing on losing weight, millions of people would be empowered to become healthy in a realistic way. I say realistic because studies have shown that diets rarely work as 95 percent of people gain back the weight and sometimes even more.

It was a pleasure meeting you through this letter, and I'd love to show you my new film. I feature several people in the film that are obese by BMI Standards, yet they are perfectly healthy and living lifestyles centered on exercise and reasonable eating habits.

We are fighting the same battle, and it is an absolute honor to have you at the forefront representing our nation's youth.

Have a beautiful day!

Sincerely,

Darryl Roberts