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Chewing the fat on childhood obesity

In Rhode Island, one in five children begin kindergarten as overweight and obese. Miss Rhode Island Kelsey Fournier has chosen to create awareness of the epidemic. Fournier, a 2012 RIC graduate (B.S. Health Education), presented her platform on childhood obesity at Rhode Island College on Nov. 28., showing the trailer for the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation.” The trailer claimed nearly 69 percent of U.S. adults as overweight or obese, and predicts the first generation of children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
“ It’s kind of scary if you think about how children still wanted to eat that after watching it being made; it is a little disheartening .”
-Kelsey Fournier,
Miss Rhode Island
The difference between being overweight and obese is, in the former, one has excess body mass for one’s height and age, the latter has an excessive amount of body fat.
In America alone, 17 percent of children and adolescents suffer from being overweight or obese. One in three children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. This number has tripled throughout the past three years. Nationally, one in seven preschool aged children are obese. According to the film, if the obesity epidemic is not taken care of, there will be an abundance of chronic diseases.
While comparing children from Europe and America, Kelsey displayed a YouTube video about how Jaime Oliver‘s “Food Revolution” shows young kids how McDonald’s makes chicken nuggets. In the video, Oliver does an experiment which he has done in his homeland to show the disgusting ingredients in some of the worst processed food. The goal was to get children to care about what goes into their bodies.
Some of the processed food people generally enjoy comes from bits people may not find appetizing. Oliver showed some kids in the video the nutritionally important parts of the chicken, as well as what was left after processing–which was the carcass and some  layers of skin used to make the nuggets. The children still wanted to eat the nuggets.
After showing the children the process, they knew the chicken nuggets for what they were. Oliver then asked, “why do you eat it if you know it’s bad?” Their response was, “because we’re hungry.”
At the end of the clip, Oliver stated, “We have brainwashed kids so brilliantly, so even though they know something is disgusting and gross, they’ll still eat it if it is in that friendly little shape.”
Fournier then gave her thoughts on food options presented and marketed toward children.
“We market the fast food options or the processed foods to children and make them look fun and exciting. So the fact they make marshmallow cereal into fun shapes, all of the sudden children want to eat it when it is really just sugar. We do this all the time within our country, whether it’s through television advertisements or on boxes or at least fast food restaurants. It’s kind of scary if you think about how children still wanted to eat that after watching it being made; it is a little disheartening .”
As a New England Patriot’s Cheerleader, Fournier worked with NFL 60, a program which asks athletes to be positive role models and promoters of health to children. They host contests, competitions and triathlons.

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About Jason Johnson