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 series, which is hosted by British chef/TV personality Jamie Oliver, promotes good eating habits and better food education at home and in school cafeterias. While his overall mission is a positive one, some viewers might find some of his comments about America's eating habits a bit too critical. Overall the show is pretty mild, but Oliver's use of strong language (“bastard,” “piss,” “crap” "ass"; the word "s--t” is bleeped) makes it a little iffy for younger viewers. Watch out for occasional plugs of his cookbooks and recipes.
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What's the story?
JAMIE OLIVER’S FOOD REVOLUTION is a reality series featuring renowned British chef Jamie Oliver as he tries to help America’s unhealthiest town change their attitudes about food and nutrition. Oliver spends four months in Huntington, West Virginia, a community that has the highest early mortality rate in the country thanks to diseases like heart disease and diabetes, meeting with families, school employees, and community leaders in hopes of inspiring them to improve the way they eat. He also builds a center where people can learn to cook healthy recipes and attempts to assist the community with feeding school children more wholesome meals. But convincing Huntington citizens to eliminate things like frozen nuggets, fried foods, pizza, and sugar-filled drinks from their daily menus isn’t easy, especially when it comes to dealing with USDA guidelines, limited budgets, and people who simply resent an outsider like Oliver. But Oliver keeps trying to find ways to get his point across, and hopes that his efforts will plant the seed of change necessary to promote revolutionary changes in America’s overall eating habits.
Is it any good?
The series draws on the habits and attitudes of Huntington residents to illustrate how poorly Americans are eating thanks to their taste for fatty meals and their reliance on convenient processed foods. It shows how the consumption of these unhealthy meals has been so normalized that they are thought of as appropriate daily food choices. The program underscores the fact that consistently eating unhealthy foods is a direct cause of obesity, disease, and early death. The show also notes some of the loopholes in government nutritional guidelines that allow U.S. schools to regularly serve these foods to children.
Some viewers might find the chef’s opinions about some of America’s general dietary choices a little judgmental. But Oliver, who successfully lobbied the British government for a healthier school lunch program, is simply underscoring what health experts in the United States and England have already identified as national problems. What he serves up are constructive and positive solutions at the grassroots level that can lead to important changes in the way we educate people -- especially children -- about food, and improve their overall health and well being.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making positive food choices at home and at school. What kinds of things should you eat to stay healthy? What kind of foods should you limit or avoid? How does the media impact the food choices that we make? Parents: Here are some resources you can use to talk about these issues with your family.
Why do some schools serve meals that aren't always healthy? Do you think it is a lack of information about healthy food? Budget constraints? Government regulations? Should schools serve healthy meals even if kids refuse to eat them? Why or why not? What kinds of things can you and your community do to help your school serve healthy food options?
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