May 17, 2007 — — Some accouchement like to apprehend Dr. Seuss books, others adopt the Berenstein Bears. But 6-year-old Ishai Melamed brand to apprehend aliment labels.
And not alone does he apprehend the labels, he understands them. Melamed is one of about a dozen kindergartners who participate in an Ad Busters class, an after-school affairs at Public Academy 321 in Brooklyn, New York.
Once a week, announcer and mother Susan Gregory Thomas collects her accuse from school, and they arch to the Key Foods bazaar three blocks away.
Thomas wants to advise these accouchement to be analytical of what they eat, and of how aliment is marketed to them.
“One adolescent in my class, James, afterwards we took a acreage cruise to a bounded grocery store, he array of gravitated anon for the ‘Dora’ soup,” Thomas told “Nightline,” apropos to the accepted animation character.
“The abutting time he went into the abundance with his mother he said, ‘Let’s apprehend that label, Mom. We’re not abiding if it’s gonna be too abundant saturated fat in it for us,'” she said.
By profession, Thomas is an analytic journalist. In her latest book, “Buy, Buy Baby,” she advised how articles are awash to kids and their parents. Thomas said putting activated characters, like Dora the Explorer and Shrek, on aggregate from bathetic cereals to macaroni and cheese has fabricated it added difficult for parents at the supermarket.
“Well, I anticipate oftentimes … accouchement are activity to be bottomward to the accountant products,” she said. “You know, they’re gonna appetite the ‘Dora’ soup over the amoebic craven stew.”
And, said Thomas, the botheration is evolving. Another difference, she said, is that earlier symbols like Tony the Tiger were bedfast to cereal. Modern characters advertise everything, and they’re additionally perceived as educational models..
“One of the things that is absolutely difficult for children,” said Thomas, “especially beneath the age of 8, is compassionate the aberration amid announcement and reality. They aloof don’t accept the actuating tactics.”
“They abatement for it every time, and they don’t accept that they are actuality led bottomward a garden aisle in a advised way,” she said.
The abstraction for the Ad Busters chic came from conversations Thomas had with her own child, who’s nicknamed Zuzu. She’s 6 years old and a actual acute affiliate of the class.
“Whenever we went into a abundance and saw Dora or Clifford or array of any of these guys on a product,” said Thomas, “I began to ask her, ‘I admiration why Dora is on that mac and cheese box? Why do you anticipate so? And she would say, ‘Well, I anticipate it’s because kids would like it.'”
But they are, afterwards all, aloof 5 and 6 years old. They may accept the best intentions, but as any ancestor knows, it takes a able will — and a allegorical duke — to accumulate them from bottomward to the characters they apperceive and love.
Thomas’ allegorical duke seems to be working. “Is [saturated] fat acceptable for your body?” she asked the group. “No,” the kids replied in unison. “Why,” she asked. “‘Cause it could clog up your brain,” answered one boy. “No, it can clog up your heart,” she said.
OK, so they’re not medical students, but they’re acquirements to be added acquainted of what they eat, and how it’s awash to them.
“You apperceive what the companies alarm it?” said Thomas. “They alarm it annoy power. You apperceive what that means?”
“It agency you’re a annoyance and you accept power!” said one boy.
“Yeah, that’s right,” said Susan. And aloof what affectionate of ability do these kids accept over their parents? The ability “[to] get you to buy it,” said the boy.
Along with the tricks of marketing, the kids are additionally acquirements about how aliment is processed. “[Why] is the mac and cheese this affectionate of color?” asked Thomas. “Food coloring,” replied one boy.
These kids are alike acquainted of how supermarkets try to advertise them specific items. “The lower areas are the kids’ cereals and the college cereals are developed cereals,” empiric one little boy.
But at the end of the day, there’s consistently allowance to clarify your position. Not all the cereals with characters on them are unhealthy,” said Zuzu, “because some cereals with characters on them are absolutely healthy.”
And there’s consistently allowance for moderation.
“Sometimes I eat, like, bacon and stuff, but alone sometimes. Aloof already in a while. I don’t eat it all the time,” she said.
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