In New York City, Meme Roth, a mother of two who is notorious for her fanatical concern with the rise of obesity (she came to fame for calling Santa Claus fat, vilifying the Girl Scouts for selling cookies, and for criticizing overweight celebrities) is involved in another nutrition battle closer to home. In order to make sure her kids’ diets remain 100 percent junk food free, she has taken matters into her own hands. The publicist, (who heads a group called National Action Against Obesity) arms her children with Tupperware containers – or “junk food collectors” for her two children to collect any unhealthy foods given to them at school, including special occasion treats such as birthday cake. Roth’s direct action and the reputedly “abrasive” manner she has displayed whilst championing her cause have resulted in heated email exchanges with school officials, confrontations with PTA members, and even the threat of police involvement. Who knows what she would make of the spam fritters, greasy chips and soggy semolina pudding that were routinely served up during my schooldays?!
But, it seems children are independently choosing a more well-balanced diet. According to a study from a Chicago-based market research firm NPD Group, there has been a reduction in the consumption of many infamous fast foods – chicken nuggets, burgers, fries – in restaurants and food outlets across the US. And what are kids eating instead? Soups, yoghurts, grilled chicken and fruit, suggesting that (just maybe) we’re seeing the first glimpses of success in the battle to educate children about healthy eating. And while it’s clearly too early to declare victory in the war on childhood obesity, any indication that children’s culinary tastes are becoming more sophisticated and well-informed must be heralded as a positive step.
What do you think? Are cupcakes and cookies a fun tradition or are they precursors to diabetes and obesity? Share your thoughts on the beijingkids forum.