US First Lady Michelle Obama takes the hit as students post bad lunch photos with sarcastic hashtag

Richland Center High School student Hunter Whitney in Wisconsin felt the inclusion of an apple with his tray full of mystery mush (see above) didn't make it any more appealing. -- PHOTO: HUNTER WHITNEY / INSTAGRAM
Richland Center High School student Hunter Whitney in Wisconsin felt the inclusion of an apple with his tray full of mystery mush (see above) didn't make it any more appealing. -- PHOTO: HUNTER WHITNEY / INSTAGRAM

Teenagers in the United States have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama to post photos of their unappetising school lunches.

Although the first food-related post with the hashtag appeared in 2011, the hashtag went viral in November, with the media picking it up.

First Lady Michelle Obama is taking the hit for the food because of her campaign to reduce America's obesity and diabetes rates by cutting down on sodium, fat and simple sugars.

She has advocated more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in public school lunch programmes through a campaign called "Let's Move" from Feb 9 2010.

According to the Let's Move site, Americans now have access to healthy, affordable in their communities. "Food in schools has been dramatically improved," it said, in a description of the campaign's accomplishments.

There were Twitter commenters who spoke up in support of the campaign, posting photos of good food, and also slamming the students for being too whiny and privileged.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which releases dietary guidelines along with the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement to online entertainment news and entertainment site Buzzfeed that the students' photos "do not fully reflect the full range of choices students are provided."

In the statement, the USDA also said that independent research shows that a majority of American kids like healthier school lunches, the number of students that like their meals is growing, and that updated meal standards are working to help improve students' health.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg