Raising kids in an environment that involves the kind of food marketing that Kelly Brownell of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity refers to as “powerful, pernicious, and predatory…” is no easy task. These days, while encouraging healthy eating habits parents are working against the interests of huge, food conglomerations. Companies put the majority of their marketing toward foods with the highest profit margins. Who is willing to bet those foods don’t include broccoli or apples?
Rather, our children are daily watching commercials for soda, sugar cereals, and chicken nuggets – and research has found a correlation between increased exposure to such marketing and unhealthy weight gain in children.
HBO’s documentary Weight of the Nation – Children in Crisis addresses these issues and the policy issues that could affect positive change. While change can be slow – and policy is often slower – on June 5 First Lady Michelle Obama announced new standards for food marketing within the Walt Disney Company.
Disney has become the first major media company to introduce new standards for food advertising and programming targeting kids and families. All of foods marketed on Disney’s television and radio channels will be required to meet Disney’s nutrition guidelines – which align with federal standards to promote fruit and vegetables and limit calories, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat – by 2015.
This is an incredible and deeply necessary leap forward. The job of raising healthy, productive children should always be supported and encouraged by our environment and government. A government that will be dependent upon the well being of our children as they move into adulthood. Learn how you can get active and encourage further change within your family, community or school! And, remember that activity plays as great a role as healthy eating – see how GeoPalz can help support physical wellness too!