Hey Kids: Eating Junk Food Makes You Stupid

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Now that its deal with McDonald's has expired, Disney is cutting trans fats and empty calories from any food that they license.

For instance, added sugar in those foods will not exceed 10 percent of calories for main and side dishes and 25 percent of calories for snacks. Total fat will not exceed 30 percent of calories for main and side dishes and 35 percent for snacks.

Disney has also pledged to eliminate artery-clogging trans fats from both the food served at its theme parks and in its licensed and promotional products.

"The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market food that kids will want and parents will feel good about giving them," Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a statement.


The company said most of its licensed products and promotional tie-ins will meet the new guidelines by the end of 2008. Food served at Disney theme parks will be free of trans fats by the end of 2007, the company said.

It's good that Disney is doing this in a proactive way. And/But how many other corporations will follow their lead?

Here's the thing -- everyone agrees that high-sugar and/or trans fat foods are unhealthy and will make our kids slow and stupid. But no one wants to do anything about it. Corporatists bellyache about government regulating food content, saying "Gosh, cream is unhealthy and so is beef -- are we going to ban those too? Where will it end?" You get a lot of silly talk about "the nanny state," but in the end the only people who come out ahead in this deal are the respective corporate lobbies in Washington.

Instead, here's an alternate idea: use our tax dollars to agressively put the word out to young kids:

  • Eating junk food makes you a slug.
  • Playing video games all day makes you a bore.
  • Watching too much TV makes you slow and stupid.
Teach kids that pop-tarts and doughnuts are bad for them. Show kids that advertising is designed to trick them into wanting something that makes them feel bad. Tell kids that exericise (and, yes, reading!) are cool. And since commercial and cable TV won't do it, give it to the government -- what better use of our tax dollars anyway?

You got a problem with that? If you do, you're probably eating too much junk food, watching too much TV and not getting enough exercise. And, parents, be aware: Whatever you do -- your kids will follow in your footsteps.

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