I recently saw a commercial that I think is worth noting the message. It’s one where the parents are preparing dinner and their middle school age son asks “What’s for dinner”? The mother unveils a cookie sheet with salmon nicely prepared with slices of lemon and seasoning and the son without uttering a work starts choking and falling on the floor in protest. The parents just look at each other in amazement, don’t utter a word, but changed the meal to one that has processed cheese in a taco and then everyone is shown sitting around the table eating this “delightful” meal and everyone is happy!! R E A L L Y?
So, what is the message? Children watching this commercial get the sense that salmon, rich in omega-3 heart healthy oil, is not as good as a processed food like cheese?? The commercial also suggests that if you protest such a healthy meal, your parents, like the ones on TV will get you what you want even if the food is loaded with salt, fat, chemicals and CALORIES? Is this the right message we are trying to teach our children if teaching then to eat healthy is the goal?
According to recent statistics by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) about 13.7 “million” children are considered obese! Of this 13.7 million, 20.6% is among children and adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 years old. The greatest percentage of obesity when broken down by race is as follows: Hispanic population (25.8%), African Americans (22%), Whites (14%) and Asians at (11%). Everyone should take notice about these statistics because most of these children will take these same eating habits and obesity into adulthood! Furthermore most obese adults develop chronic conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and cardiovascular or heart disease.
Now, typically I don’t get too crazy about every message on TV but this one seems to cross a line when we have an epidemic of obesity among children and alarming rates of high cholesterol and diabetes among school age children as well.
I hope this commercial becomes a teaching moment for you and your children or grandchildren. Cheese is high in fat and should be used as a garnish, rarely as the main event at a meal.