wrap-up: Education Week may offer “education” you don’t value, part 5 of 5

In a class I attended on single parenting, the teacher repeatedly brought up the “McDonald’s Effect” (which you may remember from the documentary Supersize Me):


McD’s is carefully, methodically creating its youngest generation to be its best customers ever.   Play Places beckon with bright colors and all kinds of free fun.   When you walk in the door, the smells are inviting and rewarding.   You buy a very inexpensive, easy meal in a brightly colored box, with a fuzzy stuffed-animal toy.   It’s exciting–you never know what it will be, but it’s always fun!   Nothing in the box has any nutritional value.   In fact, what’s in it will hurt your child.   But the child develops emotional attachments and positive memories of fun, good smells, good tastes, instant gratification, and comforting toys.   That, on top of the sensations in their mouth of high-fat, high-sugar foods, is virtually irresistible. For life.


I actually like sitting in classes where something false is taught. It gives me a chance to think through the logic of my own belief set, and craft responses in my head if not out loud, that are sensible and rational.


I would like to say that some dietetics professors at least two other universities I know of are 12 Steppers, learning and growing, changing curriculum with information outside the mainstream “bill of goods” sold to us by industry.   Not all nutritionists push animal protein consumption on people.  


But, do your own thinking regardless of the teacher’s credentials.


Many years ago I read a three-part Wall Street Journal series on inner-city nutrition.   The WSJ reporter went into a tenement building to interview three obese young ladies eating in front of the TV after school.   They were munching on the usual suspects: chips, Hostess products, sodas.   The reporter had found that in the inner city, most of the people are eating three meals a day of fast food. He had also gone into the grocery stores to find that most had no produce at all besides potatoes.   Store owners who were interviewed said no one bought it.


One of the young women was quoted saying this:


“I know it’s good for me because McDonald’s sells it. They wouldn’t sell it if it weren’t good for me.”


Now you folks here on GSG.com are, many of you, the “choir” that I preach to.   Already converted.   But some are newbies.   And whoever you are, you are surrounded by newbies.   You have the power to slowly, in a “drip” fashion, influence people to reject what they’re taught by pop culture.


Please do it.