“Listen To The Kids, Bro” – Kanye West
I’m a firm believer that it’s our job to leave the world better than we found it. And one way to do that is by paying more attention to the rise in childhood obesity. I know, I know, nothing’s more precious then a “chubby baby” but… nothings more devastating than watching a kid deal with: self esteem, weight, health issues either.
To be fair, it’s not all “our” fault, society, media, social construct, and even economical status play a part, let’s dig in.
Try watching TV with a kid, you might loose your mind on how many times McDonald’s big ass arches flash across your screen. Now take into consideration that More than 80% of all advertisements in children’s programming are for fast foods or snacks and for every hour that children watch TV, it’s said that they see an estimated 11 food advertisements.
Systematically, Low-income youth and adults are exposed to disproportionately more marketing and advertising for obesity-promoting products that encourage the consumption of unhealthful foods and discourage physical activity (e.g., fast food, sugary beverages, television shows) I want you to count how many food ads you see during some of the shows minorities tend to watch. Just use VH1s Love & Hip-Hop as an example.
Fast food is big business, Americans spend more than $110 billion annually… let’s highlight a few.
Black folk support this place like they own the farm the chickens were raised on … and yet, not ONE franchise (that we could find) is Black owned or operated. So basically a bunch of people not from your community are placing Popeyes on every corner of underprivileged neighborhoods and keeping us fat.
These guys have employed images of poetry-loving, “uppity” blacks to help push this product, just think about the 2004 commercial in which Mary J Blige sold her soul to help McDonald’s reach some street cred to secure its stronghold on minority consumers.
When available, healthy food may be more expensive in terms of the monetary cost as well as for perishable vs nonperishable items. I’ve been thinking about this since my vegan post and it’s often times overlooked. The potential for waste in certain foods is very real in underprivileged communities.
While on the other side: refined grains, added sugars, and fats are generally inexpensive, and readily available in low-income communities. So, Now take a Households with limited resources to buy enough food, logically they will try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap-filling food. (My childhood) my mom basically tried to maximize “calories per dollar” in order to keep all three of her kids fed. This brings the childhood obesity full circle in a way.
Low-income communities have a lot more fast food restaurants readily in the vicinity , one great example of that is our public schools. So not only do today’s kids have to fend off the lunch lady from putting 3-day old sloppy joes on their plates, when they walk out side they’re faced with 4 bodegas, 2 McDonald’s, 3 Chinese restaurants and 11 pizza shops ( interestingly enough, none are black owned). At this point, beating obesity is a gift, not a norm.
So I say all that to say this…
Don’t always listen to the kids, bro. Educate them on making healthier choices and take the extra step in showing them a healthier lifestyle from working out to nutrition.
* runs down the block to play laser tag… like the good old days with dial up Internet, no ipads, and no Netflix *