Naturally, I was rooting for Jamie Oliver and the residents of the town of Huntington, West Virginia. I had my fingers crossed that Jamie’s enthusiasm and education would equal big, lasting changes in the eating habits of this town.
Alas, when he visited three months after his departure, the picture was not all rosy. The school district was succumbing to the lure of cheap, processed junk food from the USDA (“Processed Food Fridays!”), and more and more parents were sending their kids to school with bag lunches when their kids complained about the new fresh food. One little elementary school girl had nothing but jellybeans and two baggies of potato chips in her brown bag. Yeah, that’s what kids need in their formative years.
Unfortunately this “reality” television show hit on the hard reality of the high rate of overweight and obesity in this country: Cheap processed food is so tempting to so many, change is often hard (at least at first), and people will only change if they want to, deep down. All the information in the world means little if the motivation just isn’t there. And while I think Jamie is pretty motivating, any external motivator is a weak motivator.
I’m happy for those people in the town who did get what they needed from this experiment to form new healthy habits. And it looks like some of the relapsing was circumvented by Jamie and some of the lunch ladies, so fingers crossed!
I’ll be talking more about motivation in Monday’s post, so stay tuned!