Getting Smart about Food Choices for Youth

One thing I commended the NYC government for in my last blog post was the use of crowdsourcing for recipe sharing, as my underlying argument was that people are likely to be more receptive to advice from fellow New Yorkers as opposed to the government itself.

Beyond that, I believe it’s a more effective strategy to inform people about food and how to make healthy food choices, rather than just telling them what to eat.

It is with this in mind that I shine a positive light on the work being done in NYC high schools by FoodFight, a non-profit organization that is helping young people to make better and healthier decisions about food. Per their website:

FoodFight’s mission is to revolutionize the way teenagers think about food and its role in their lives. Using schools as a platform, FoodFight arms students with tools, knowledge and resources necessary to take responsibility for their eating and buying habits and ownership over their health and life chances. (via FoodFight)

I first learned about FoodFight late last week, when they received some well deserved attention in a New York Times article that described some of the work they are currently doing in local high schools. Beyond learning about nutrition and healthy foods, the FoodFight curriculum is also teaching students about media literacy, especially as it pertains to food and food marketing campaigns that promote unhealthy food choices (the article uses McDonald’s as an example).

Students are becoming aware that they are part of a lucrative demographic, and they are learning how companies target them. (via NYTimes)

This is a vitally important demographic to target and educate about these issues, especially given that article’s claim that 35% of adolescents in America are overweight or obese.  It appears the curriculum is having a positive effect.

After a lesson about the consequences of consuming too much sugar, [one student] switched from McDonald’s sweetened iced tea to a no-calorie drink, Ms. Tonda said, and now brings bottled water to class. Another student, affected by the images of a crowded chicken farm in the documentary “Food Inc.,” has asked her mother to stop buying meat from industrial producers. (via NYTimes)

It seems clear that this is a more effective strategy than simply tell high schoolers what to eat/not eat, and more importantly, it’s helping them to care about making healthy food choices from a young age.

“Kids don’t like to be played by corporations,” Ms. Katz (the teacher) said. “They want to make their own choices.” (via NYTimes)

The FoodFight curriculum sounds wonderful and I hope that it can expand to more schools.


One response to this post.

  1. Thank you SO much for this excellent post about our organization, FoodFight! We are so proud of the work that we do, as well as the lives that we can change. And we love that more people are being recruited to the fight as a result of the great article in the New York Times last week!


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