It’s been a rough week for unhealthy foods and unhealthy eaters.
Attacks are coming from a mother in Arizona who documented 50 different fast food playlands around the country and found that — surprise, surprise — those giant pits of plastic balls aren’t particularly clean.
They’re coming from The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, who recently looked into why our country is so fat and cast blame on restaurants’ ability to “weaponize our fast food,” namely, as Eater.com points out, The Baconator.
Causing the biggest stir among households across the country, however, is the recent outcry Harvard University child obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig has made in saying that parents of obese children should lose custody of their kids. While childhood obesity certainly doesn’t stem exclusively from rampant consumption of fast food, Associated Press writer Lindsey Tanner addresses one particular instance where eating poorly attributed to a fourteen-year-old growing to 555-pounds.
These are all pressing issues, and obviously any time when parenting practices and rights come into play is no place for jokes. But there’s a fourth attack on unhealthy foods in play that I believe deserves our full opposition. That is the news that the nation’s largest food companies will cut back on marketing unhealthier foods to children, at the behest of the federal government.
People, this is big news. There’s an entire culture of characters that exist within the unhealthy food that will not only be put out of work (if you’re willing to think of advertising characters in the abstract), but won’t even seep into the imaginations of kids for years to come!
Think about Tony the Tiger and the Trix bunny: They’re sitting ducks! (Oh, geez, think about, Daffy Duck!) Listen, characters in kids’ cereal commercials have been woven into the fabric of American childhood since the dawn of television. Sure, they’ve probably contributed to a few million cavities and a diabetes count in the thousands (plus the constant anguish of mothers who refuse to buy said cereal), but think about all the laughs. Think about Count Chocula; I used to impersonate that guy every morning.
According to USA Today, the government’s guidelines declare that children’s cereals may be advertised on television if they have eight grams of sugar per serving or less, which means that General Mills will probably have to lay off the bee from the advertisements for Honey Nut Cheerios, which I grew up thinking was one of the healthiest cereals on the planet.
It’s all enough to make you wonder: If they won’t be advertised to children anymore, who are Trix for these days, anyway?