America’s kids are fat.
Parents are taking the blame. Aren’t parents ultimately responsible for their kids’ health?
But, this nice and tidy excuse rubs me the wrong way. It rubs me in the same way that the pornification of girls’ Halloween costumes rubs me. Parents don’t make the costumes. Parents don’t pose girls provocatively on the cover of costume packaging and parents don’t spend millions and millions of dollars exploiting children’s natural sexuality by marketing these costumes to girls on the Internet, television, movies, school prizes, books, etc. Why are parents putting up with this craptastic behavior? Why are parents giving marketers free access to their kids?
We have a childhood obesity epidemic in this country for several complex reasons, not the least of which is that food manufacturers and marketers are BIG FAT LIARS!!!
Let’s apply the same logic to our kids’ food. Parents don’t make the food. Parents don’t add high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils to the food. Parents don’t invent 17 different Latin versions of the word “sugar.” Parents don’t stick Hannah Montana, Barney, Dora, or High School Musical on packaging from yogurt to cereal to cheese sticks to macaroni and cheese to drink mixes to juice boxes to bread . . . every ding dabbed thing you can buy in the grocery store including milk. Parents don’t use misleading words on packaging making people believe they are buying “whole wheat” noodles when they are buying the same flour noodles.
There’s even an Institute of Medicine Study, Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity to prove culpability stating, “Food and beverage marketing targeted to children ages 12 and under leads them to request and consume high-calorie, low-nutrient products.”
Why are parents and consumers putting up with this craptastic behavior? Why are parents giving marketers free access to their kids?
Parents should hold manufacturers responsible for the detrimental affects their tactics are having on society. Capitalism does not excuse craptastic and exploitive behavior.
Parents buy the food that’s available. They make the choices based on their economics. They make the choices wading through intentional lying on labels.
It’s not your mother’s motherhood. In your mother’s day milk was milk and wheat bread was wheat bread. It was healthy for kids. Period.
If parents are going into the grocery store with the same health information and expectations their parents had in the 1970s their children can easily come out inadvertently fat. Ask me how I know.
Parents today need a PhD in nutrition and a masters degree in marketing and consumer economics to know they are feeding their kids healthy food. Seriously. Dr. Mehmet Oz’s advice, both on Oprah and in You, The Owners Manual, not to buy food where high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils is in the top five ingredients sounds reasonable and simple enough – until you realize it’s in the salad dressing, peanut butter, noodles, whole wheat bread, cereal, granola bars and every single other thing in your shopping cart except maybe the mustard and pickles.
Parents literally spend hours in the grocery store reading the labels trying to discern heath fact from marketing lie. Parents wrestle – trying to figure out what is actually in the food. Parents face a battle at the grocery store often between health and economics.
Do I feed my kids the healthy peanut butter or the peanut butter I can afford? That Peter Pan can in the picture has 6 pounds in it for $7.50. It also has high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil in it. My kids and I eat it for breakfast and lunch.
The healthy one that has only organic peanuts and salt and is $30 for 6 pounds. That’s not an insignificant difference, especially when you multiply it by all the items in your grocery cart.
Your grocery bill – already a significant portion of the family income – could literally quadruple.
This is one significant way parents try to do “everything right” – but their kids end up clinically overweight.
I just bought Eat This, Not That! after seeing it on Oprah, because I need for my choices to be simpler and the whole ordeal is too confusing to me.
I will vote with my dollar – as we capitalists must do.
Still, I’m not letting marketers off that easy. I’m pissed now. I’m taking broader action by participating in Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to put a stop to many of the marketing practices of these BIG FAT LIARS! Look up the fact sheet on childhood obesity and marketing. Join me.