A new video on humor website Funny or Die satirizes the unhealthy lunches served in American schools. Produced by the American Heart Association (AHA), the piece features comedian Nick Offerman as a “food expert” leading a farm tour full of greasy fare, including pizza vines and taquito trees.
Offerman leads us through a farm filled with “acres of pizza, kissed by the sun, stretching as far as the eye can see” and “fresh pepperoni straight from Mother Earth.” Farm workers water the pizza with spray bottles. Offerman plucks a taquito from a tree, digs sloppy joe sandwiches from the ground and gulps soda from a watering hose.
“We all want our kids to eat healthy all-natural food. So stop pushing gross fruits and vegetables on them and let them dig into a fresh-picked bushel of hot, flaky fish fingers.”
The video is part of the AHA’s campaign to #KeepSchoolFoodHealthy by protecting nutrition standards established in the 2010 law known as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Congress must reauthorize child nutrition programs every five years, and the Heart Association is urging the public to “Step up for Childhood Nutrition” by signing a petition to US Senators and House Representatives.
“Before the updates to the nutrition standards set by the 2010 law, many of our nation's children were served school meals that were loaded with sugar, fat and salt, and lacked fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and dairy and whole grains,” reads the petition. “In the past few years the healthier standards have led to America's students eating 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent more fruit. These standards have also given them healthier food options throughout the school day.”
Child nutrition is also an economic issue, argues the AHA. For example, a 9.5 percent decrease in sodium intake could result in a million fewer cardiac events each year and save over $32 billion, according to the group.
Eduardo Sanchez, Chief Medical Officer for the Heart Association, said the video is the organization’s most satirical endeavor to date. “We need to use as many strategies as possible to raise awareness,” he said.
Childhood obesity in America has been a focal point for First Lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move!” initiative; in the past two years, Mrs. Obama has proposed the banning of junk food marketing in schools and recruited beloved “Sesame Street” characters to help entice children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Other recent efforts in the fight for healthy child nutrition include a recent partnership between California companies Back to the Roots and Revolution Foods to provide free fresh vegetables for select schools.
The Heart Association is not the only group using humor to drive public awareness and action. Last month, Ben and Jerry’s and the Guardian launched the multimedia comedy series “Too Hot to Handle,” which aims to engage the public on climate change issues.