Childhood Obesity, and obesity in general is on the rise in this country. Children are spending more time in front of the television and the computer and less time outside and active. Parents used to force their children outside to play, now it is just easier to keep them quiet by sitting in front of the television. It is time to fight back against this epidemic and end the problem of childhood obesity.
Nickelodeon is at the forefront of children’s television. Nickelodeon has been around for decades and has always provided entertaining television for children of all ages. Morning television consists of programming for preschoolers, the afternoon focuses on programming for older children and evening programming engages the older children and pre-teens. Late night programming is for adults, consisting of classic reruns. The television shows seen on Nickelodeon are quality entertainment. Nick Jr, the programming for preschoolers, provides plenty of educational shows. The later television shows are comedies and cartoons that often have some moral lesson to be learned, hidden amongst the humor. Nickelodeon is taking a new path now, in the fight against childhood obesity.
In the age we live in, many people are leading a sedentary lifestyle. It is easier to sit in front of the television and zone out rather than get outside and be active. These, along with the unhealthy eating habits we have acquired, are leading to an obesity epidemic. Childhood obesity rates are higher than ever. With lawsuits being waged against fast food restaurants, many companies are taking action against this epidemic.
It is the nature of television stations to provide the most entertaining television to get the highest ratings. Higher ratings entice advertisers to their station, which equals more revenue. Television networks want to see couch potatoes. They are not worried about childhood obesity. It is surprising then that Nickelodeon would instead urge children to turn off the television and go outside to play.
For several years, Nickelodeon has run a television show created in Iceland, called Lazy Town. The premise of the show is living a healthy lifestyle of eating well and staying active. With both puppets and live actors, this television show has become very popular. This television show is working with parents to fight against childhood obesity and sedentary lifestyle.
Nickelodeon has stepped it up a notch this summer with the “Let’s Just Play Go Healthy Challenge.” This is in cooperation with the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation. Former President Bill Clinton makes several appearances to discuss his life growing up as an overweight child. The challenge is following four kids for three months as they change their lifestyle. Throughout the day, Nickelodeon runs snippets from these children with their tips on leading a healthier life as well as the progress they have made. Every Sunday at 8:30 pm Nickelodeon runs a full half hour special on the progress of the program. Nickelodeon has challenged these kids as well as the rest of their viewing audience and more than 100,000 children have signed up as challengers.
So far, the progress has been incredible. One of the challengers has lost 30 pounds already. Another has joined with fellow students to have the cafeteria lunch menu changed. All four children have developed new tastes for healthy food and have found creative ways to get in exercise. They all agree that it doesn’t feel like exercise when you are socializing with friends and having fun. This is all within the first two months of the challenge. There is still one month left. These children are fighting for themselves and their friends and waging the war against childhood obesity. It is all thanks to Nickelodeon getting them outside and active.
Nickelodeon has made great strides in children’s television and this new endeavor is no exception. The “Let’s Just Play Go Healthy Challenge,” and such shows as Lazy Town are getting children off the couch and outside. They are fighting back against the childhood obesity epidemic and they should be applauded.