U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to end obesity in young Americans probably was not going to gain much support by releasing a series of special postal stamps featuring cartoon characters doing athletic activities. Even in the pre-email days, children weren’t necessarily heavy users of the USPS. Regardless, Obama’s stamp series will not have a chance to have a positive impact on society. The series has been destroyed by the USPS due to claims that a few of the illustrations depicted activities that are unsafe.
“Three of the stamps in the fifteen stamp series raised safety concerns among sports figures on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. The stamps in question depicted children performing a cannonball dive, skateboarding without kneepads, and doing a headstand without a helmet,” Reason reports.
Of course, cannonballs, skateboarding without kneepads and doing headstands are likely preferable for anti-obesity advocates than sitting inside and playing video games (all of which, by the way, are relatively harmless activities for young citizens to do. Video games included). Also, it’s unlikely that any of the stamps would have directly encouraged children to take part in one of the activities in the exact same manner as the characters depicted. The characters are extremely cartoonish, and they don’t even have faces.
Aside from the trivial argument over the safety practices carried out by cartoon characters on stamps, Obama’s Let’s Move campaign has had some practical results in its goal of ending childhood obesity. According to the campaign’s site, Let’s Move “has delivered nearly 2,700 salad bars to schools across the nation since [the Salad Bars to Schools Program] launch in 2010. The Let’s Move website also has much more information about childhood obesity and ways to help solve it, as well as other successful campaigns and initiatives the First Lady has helped carry out.
While the destruction of the stamps may hurt the USPS’s already struggling budget, it’s unlikely to have any real effects on awareness for Obama’s anti-obesity campaign, or any practical effects towards ending childhood obesity.