Fooditude is a reality-based episodic television program for “Tweens” (children between 8 and 12) that keeps kids and food as its central theme. The program interactively teaches the basics of cooking and nutrition in a fun, relevant and age appropriate way with guest appearances by food professionals, chefs and recognizable personalities. Fooditude will engage “Tweens” by teaching food related skills and information including: cooking and gardening; encouraging environmental awareness and stewardship; fostering cultural appreciation, social interaction and teamwork; and providing culinary history and food science facts, all of which empower kids to make healthy choices in their own lives.
It is nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly why 17% of kids ages 6—11 in the U.S. are considered obese. One likely cause of excess weight gain is inactivity due to television, the Internet and video games. Additionally, only 36% of U.S. children ages 2—19 eat the recommended number of servings of vegetables a day, and just 26% eat the recommended number of servings of fruit. Our ever-changing landscape of eating habits are not helping the situation either. Americans spend an average of 25 minutes eating a meal, and when this meal is shared as a family, it is quite often at restaurants, including fast food venues, where portion sizes are larger than the USDA’s recommendations, leading to the consumption of larger quantities of food and calories. And then there is advertising, a billion dollar industry that exposes children to 7,600 food ads per year, promoting candy, snacks, beverages, and high sugar cereals.
We have begun to see the health consequences of these lifestyle and eating habits. Obese children are more likely to become overweight or obese as adults, and therefore are more at risk for chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. We’re in danger of raising the first generation of American children who may live sicker and die younger than the generation before them.
The good news is that creating healthy environments for children has become a national movement that has stimulated local initiatives to spring up in communities throughout the country. School Wellness policies, school garden curricula, Farm to School, and the Healthy School Lunch Campaign, to name a few, support healthy food environments and therefore, healthy kids. Furthermore, as the former First Family has brought national attention to farmer’s markets, local eating, and growing food, awareness has been raised about healthy eating within families. Most newsworthy was the launch of Michelle Obama “Let’s Move” campaign designed to “solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation”. One part of this campaign, the USDA’s program “Chefs move to schools”, has already drawn attention to the importance of bringing nutrition programming into schools. There are also chefs that lead the national charge for healthy kids. Chefs such as Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver, Anne Cooper, and Sam Kass spread an important message: involving kids in the process of growing and cooking food gets them excited to eat healthy.
A play on a pre-game in a locker room, kids make a game plan to find ingredients for their recipe.
Kids discover food origins and places to sample ethnic foods in their own neighborhood.
The Fooditude character “Y-Guy” gives a peek into the world of food science.
Kids learn about being environmentally
responsible with their leftovers.