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Toons Take on Obesity

Filed Under: Announcements & News at 9:30 am | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Mickey MouseThere are two staples to every child’s television lineup: Disney and Nickelodeon. They were the networks I flip-flopped between in my youth and the two, today, my nephew watches the most. Everyone, regardless of age, loves Disney’s eternally chipper mouse. And no channel can compete with Nickelodeon’s bevy of varying shows, ranging from Blue’s Clues to SpongeBob SquarePants to Brothers Garcia. We rely on both stations for hours of endless entertainment, and now, they’ve proven that we can rely on them for a little bit of health help as well.

Disney recently announced that it will be stocking produce aisles in Kroger’s, Albertson’s, Winn Dixie and Price Shopper with Disney-themed fruits and vegetables. Mickey shaped trays will hold celery, peanut butter and raisins or apples. There will be cheese and cracker snack packs, teriyaki snap peas, honey orange carrot coins and cheesy broccoli bites. Pluto, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will shamelessly promote mini apples, oranges, pears and other healthy snacks. Our favorite cartoon characters will step out of the television and into a healthy kitchen.  And while Disney works on nutrition, Nickelodeon will focus on exercise.

Actually, let me rephrase that. Nickelodeon will continue to focus on exercise.

The station’s fight against inactivity  isn’t new. It’s been an ongoing part of the network for years. Television programs highlight children who have chosen to make positive changes to their sedentary lives, and on September 29, the network broadcast dead air for three hours, in an attempt to send kids outside.  But just because it isn’t new doesn’t mean it’s not noteworthy. Like Disney, Nickelodeon is working to promote obesity-awareness. The question is, however, will it work?

Yes. Already, more than 750,000 children have promised, on Nickelodeon’s Web site, to fight obesity. Moreover, studies have found a direct correlation between television and eating habits. Kids, who watch the most, are subjected to fat-filled, sugar-high food advertisements.  Afterwards, they want those products, which, sadly, are readily available.  So, aligning beloved cartoon characters with healthy snacks rather than sweets should, at least a little, make carrot crunching more popular. The real question, then, isn’t will it work, but rather can I get away with taking a Mickey snack tray to work.

One Response to “Toons Take on Obesity”

  1. Meghan says:

    This makes me recall the days of the Nickolodeon Big Help-athon in which we used to call and donate our time to do something for the world. While I usually lived up to my promise, I wondered often how many children during those days called just to hear their favorite cartoon character’s voice over the phone. I’d love to see a study on how effective such positions are.

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