A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this show makes a connection between media overconsumption and bad health. It also uses extreme computer-generated images of what children might look like as adults if they continue their unhealthy habits. These images may be frightening to kids who don't understand that the pictures are exaggerated for dramatic effect. The series talks frankly about diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and how these could be in children's future -- also a potentially scary idea for younger children.
What's the story?
In TLC's lifestyle-makeover reality show HONEY WE'RE KILLING THE KIDS, parents learn that they may be putting their children at risk for future health problems because of choices they're making today. In a format similar to Nanny 911, families get new rules intended to improve their lifestyle and their chances for the future. Parents see computer-generated time-lapse photos of their children as they might age, given their current lifestyle and body measurements. The results aren't pretty: Kids turn into overweight, dull-skinned 40-year-olds before their parents' eyes. With three weeks to make some serious changes, parents and kids meet weekly with a fitness/nutrition expert to learn new household rules and receive helpful handbooks. While the weeks can seem like torture to the kids -- one even threatens to run away when his TV is taken out of his room -- in the end, serious progress is made. With less sugar in their diet, kids' behavior improves; less access to TV and video games helps them become more active; and time spent around the dinner table helps unite families.
Is it any good?
Honey We're Killing the Kids has all the annoying elements of a reality show: constant replaying of dramatic moments, meetings in an eerie gothic mansion, editing that may not tell the whole story, and a pat ending. But like Nanny 911 and Supernanny, the show aims to help real families who struggle with real problems. And to this end, the show does a good job promoting healthy ideas while staying away from labeling kids as "fat" or "lazy."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about their own diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits and think about ways to improve them. How can kids (and parents) add more fruit and vegetables to their diets -- and less sugar and bad fats? Can kids think of ways to be more active and have fun at the same time? Why is it so important to limit time spent watching TV and playing video games? A possible activity: Think of everyday items that will help keep portion size in check -- like a deck of cards for a 3-ounce serving of meat, or a light bulb for a 1/2-cup serving of vegetables.
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