Shrek is not a healthy role model for kids?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Media, That's Entertainment

Quick! Try to pair a children's cartoon character with a campaign promoting children's exercise and health. Chances are that Shrek doesn't come immediately to mind. Sure, he's a lovable ogre with a winning personality who has lots of experience promoting things on television. The problem is with what he has promoted in the past. You may remember him from his other commercials where he sells candy bars, soda, sugar cereal, Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its and cookies.

Somehow, Shrek did get the gig as spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services' anti-obesity campaign, but The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a children's advocacy group, says he was miscast and wants him ousted.

"There is an inherent conflict of interest between marketing junk food and promoting public health," says Susan Linn, the group's director. "Why would young children follow Shrek's advice about healthy living and ignore his entreaties to eat Happy Meals and Pop-Tarts?" Linn wrote. "If government agencies are serious about combating childhood obesity, they should stop cozying up to industry and start taking real steps to end the barrage of junk food marketing aimed at children."

While Shrek clearly has his detractors, he also has at least one person on his side. Bill Hall, spokesman for Health and Human Services, says they have no intention of stopping the public service ads, which have been running since February.

The ads show Shrek, in all his round green glory, urging children to exercise at least an hour a day.

Personally, I think they are over thinking things here. Sure, he's not in the best physical shape and maybe he eats too much junk food. But that doesn't mean he, and other out of shape junk food eaters, shouldn't be exercising every day. Maybe his less-than-perfect physique makes him the ideal spokesperson to encourage exercise.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.