Have you heard about the new kids’ book, “Maggie Goes on a Diet”? It’s basically a retelling of the age-old ugly ducking fable, but with a modern twist. In this reenactment, the duckling is a 14-year-old girl who goes on a diet, and with a little hard work goes from being an overweight, self-conscious kid to a star soccer player and the most popular girl in school.
The book may stress the importance of healthful eating and exercise, but many people are finding fault with the author’s emphasis on the thin = happy storyline, instead of focusing on the importance of health.
Among the critics is our own Dr. Claire, who was on New England Cable News this morning to talk about Maggie, childhood obesity and how to send kids the right message about health and weight.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard plenty of healthcare experts stressing the importance of eating healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables. The message may sound a little repetitive at times, but it’s important advice; whole, unprocessed foods are not only good for our bodies, but for our waistlines too. And as obesity continues to dramatically affect the health of millions of Americans, it’s clear that more of us need pay closer attention to what the experts are saying.
But for many Americans, the shift towards eating healthy food isn’t so easy. Adding more greens to the grocery list is good advice, but it’s easier said than done for a lot of people. The high cost and limited availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in some areas makes them practically unobtainable to a substantial portion of the population. …
Cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American Inc. recently released a new ad campaign for its American Spirit line, touting the eco-friendliness of the brand. The ads boast that the company uses recycled paper, electric hand dryers and ceramic mugs instead of paper towels and disposables cups. It even goes as far as to point out that their sales team drives hybrids. Thankfully it stops short of saying that America Spirits are a healthier cigarette than non-green alternatives, but the message is pretty clear: if you smoke and care about the environment, American Spirit is the brand for you.
Hopefully most people will recognize these ads for what they are, a green tinted smoke screen devised to push an otherwise unhealthy product. But regardless of the campaign’s success, the fact that these ads exist at all says a lot about how the eco movement influences people’s buying habits. If something as unhealthy as tobacco is rebranding itself as green, then it’s safe to assume that phony green marketing has infiltrated other markets as well. …
“Please pass the vegetables!” may be a scarcely-heard phrase from kids sitting around the dinner table, but the sentiment is becoming more common as adolescents and teens explore vegetarianism.
While very recent and consistent data on the number of vegetarians in the United States is hard to come by, it’s generally estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that one in 200 American children under 18 is a vegetarian (that number reflects mostly teenagers, who have more control over their diets). This increase begs the questions: What does this mean for young vegetarians’ overall health? And how does it impact family life?
Understandably, parents may fear that it’s harder for vegetarian kids to eat a balanced diet and fit in socially. Some vegetarians replace meat with unhealthful sweets and carbohydrates, rather than vegetables and plant-based proteins, and there are news stories about high school vegetarians being teased for their different eating habits. …