When I first read that there is controversy surrounding Michelle Obama’s latest health initiative to encourage people to drink more water, I figured the dairy industry would have a problem with it. They successfully lobbied to have dairy added to the MyPlate nutrition guidelines, giving the impression that a glass of milk should be included with every meal. When Harvard Health Publications created a revised version of MyPlate, they replaced the dairy with water.

When I delved into Politico’s piece on the controversy, I found I was correct. Nutrition experts are concerned about water displacing milk from kids’ diets, even though milk isn’t necessary for a healthy diet.

Later today, the first lady will officially announce the drink more water campaign that’s part of her larger Let’s Move initiative. When she does, it’s expected that she won’t be giving specific amounts of water to drink each day. She’ll simply encourage people to drink more water because “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.” Once she makes the official announcement, a media campaign will kick off with television commercials and social media postings with the hashtag #drinkH2O.

It’s hard to believe that anyone can have a problem with that, but it’s not just the dairy industry that’s saying the initiative is problematic. First of all, there is no scientific data that says exactly how much water people should consume daily and some scientists are saying that there isn’t enough evidence for the White House to say drinking more water has health benefits. And, while the message coming from Michelle Obama will simply be to drink more water and not to replace other beverages with water, soft drink companies aren’t going to be happy with this – unless they also happen to own a bottled water brand.

(One thing I do hope Michelle Obama does when she makes the announcement is to put in a sentence or two about drinking filtered tap water and using reusable water bottles instead of buying one-time-use bottled water.)

But, let’s put politics aside and rely on common sense. It seems to me that what the first lady is going to propose makes sense. Replacing sugary drinks with water is obviously healthier and can help limit the number of calories consumed. I’ve had times in my life where I’ve purposely consumed more water, and I saw a positive difference. I was less likely to snack so much. My skin looked better. I also spent a lot more time in the bathroom — which is why the daily habit of drinking several glasses of water has never stuck with me.

What do you think of Michelle Obama’s advice to drink more water? Should it be controversial? Or should we all just use our common sense and not overact to a simple suggestion?

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