Not well, according to grim statistics on U.S. childhood obesity and predictions that one in three children will develop diabetes if present trends continue. Yet some criticize public education and prevention efforts like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign as one more brick in the wall of the “nanny state,” and many in Congress seek to defund the recently enacted prevention and public health fund ($15B over 10 years), which one Republican senate aide referred to as a “slush fund for jungle gyms.”
Presumably these same legislators won’t be defunding agricultural subsidies, which – unlike the public health crowd – represent powerful political constituencies. Nor will they be turning a critical eye to the billions of dollars spent on advertising food products to children, little of which address “healthy eating,” as the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2007 report, Food for Thought, documents.
For a provocative – and disturbing – view of what our corporate “free market” culture of massive consumption and commodification is doing to children, take a look at a five-minute trailer for Consuming Kids: the Commercialization of Childhood. Then purchase the 67-minute film produced by the Media Education Foundation in 2008 and show it to your friends. Follow with a discussion of this question: What are we doing to our children?
Whatever it is, it’s not healthy.