By Sue Trollip
Disney Channel announced a few weeks ago that it is banning all junk food ads during kiddies programmes. So while they have no qualms about encouraging a viewership of couch dwellers, they obviously feel it is their duty to ban any junk food or drinks (according to their definition of “junk”) aimed at viewers under 12. No doubt many find this encouraging and consider it “one for the health nuts”.
New York’s mayor, Bloomberg, announced a ban on “large servings of soft drinks” shortly before Disney’s burger bombing. New York is a wonderful place to walk so what if you’ve just puffed into Penn Station all the way from Central Park (20 blocks), I think you’re going to be thirsty. If you can’t order a large soft drink can you order two medium sized ones instead ? What if the customers begin to think that instead of the large soft drink they’ll order an apple pie along with their “healthier” medium sized drink?
To me it reeks of a nanny state and that frightens me. When did we no longer become accountable for our actions? While Disney may have the right idea, don’t we rather need to teach our children how to resist temptation. If parents never have to say no, then teachers are always going to look mean, and what about bosses when they start work? “No” is an intrinsic word and people use it all the time. We have to learn to say it to ourselves too.
We need to teach that if you cannot resist temptation you will pay in one way or another, so before you yield, consider the options. What about the adults in NYC? If they don’t know that drinking a litre of soft drink is bad, then teach them because removing one thing from temptation will merely create room for another.
I wonder if there are less smokers in the world today. I certainly see less of them, but somehow I think it’s got more to do with the strongly enforced no-smoking zones and high prices than that they removed cigarette adverts from our screens and magazines. Smokers are still smoking, even when I can’t see them. Why not make the salad options at all those Junk Joints more reasonably priced. What about giving away “SpongeBob” with the milk and chicken and not with the soda and chips option? Is it really the happy meal that’s causing obesity or is it the number of happy meals consumed a week combined with the hours spent inert on the couch in front of the TV, at the computer or on the phone?
You may wonder why I’m prancing around on my high horse here. Truth be told I’m terrified. One day some governmental figure is going to say we’re all too fat because we eat too much ice cream and without further ado remove it from our shelves in order to slim us down. We’ll then turn to cupcakes, until they too disappear from our lives. My nightmares have already begun. How long do we have before the chocolate is gone? Slabs and slabs with bright packaging and delicious fillings tempt me. Sometimes I say no, but more often than I should I say yes and because I live in a free society, the decision and its repercussions are all MINE!