America’s Top Nutrition Educators: Not Who You’d Expect

Nutrition 101 Teacher

Pop Quiz: Who teaches our kids the most about nutrition?

  1. Dietitians
  2. Teachers
  3. Family
  4. Other

If you answered other, you’re right. In an interesting op-ed in the Huffington Post, Michael Jacobson, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest, claims that a $2 billion education campaign is underway, and it’s being funded by non other than the junk food industry.

Some of the things are children are learning:

  • Packaged food filled with sugar, salt, and fat is good.
  • Junk foods and beverages are cool. Consuming them will make you cool.
  • Broccoli and healthy veggies are not cool.

Where are kids learning these things?

Aside from TV, children are exposed to junk food marketing in

  • gaming websites
  • youtube videos
  • mobile apps
  • billboards
  • movie merchandising and tie ins
  • on junk food product packages
  • and more…

As much as we parents like to think we can protect our kids from predatory marketing, the older they get, our influence decreases.

The solution? Jacobson recommends nutrition education in classrooms, which in the past was part of home-economics. Perhaps this can help, but additionally, tighter regulations around marketing of junk foods to kids would certainly have an impact.


  • Randiclam

    I dont mean to be “one of those people” but it should be: Some of the things OUR children are learning.

    I can’t believe anyone still markets food to children, coming from an ethical perspective. It’s like these people running these junk food companies have no souls. They sleep completely sound at night knowing that they’re brainwashing children to want nutrition-less food.

  • kfay

    I’ve always wanted to know, does anyone have personal experience of their parents only feeding them healthy food (not denying sugar, but no preservatives, artificial colors, etc.) but now eat very unhealthy food as teenagers/adults?

    I ate junk for most of my childhood; but now that I’ve made myself stay away from that stuff, I can actually taste the difference. Are children more likely to grow up and want junk because they weren’t allowed to have it before?

    • a mom of 3

      I don’t think the problem lies in parents giving kids occasional treats . The problem is these treats are no longer treats they are daily staples in our kids diets. And I believe with so much conflicting advice about nutrition along with marketing of foods with the false promise of being healthy when they are loaded with ingredients causing obesity and disease we have somewhere lost our sense of balance with food. Marketing is dangerous as well because if you make a fun commercial with inviting colors kids believe what they hear . if we don’t fight back these conditions of poor health linked to dietary and lifestyle habits will continue to wreak havoc on generations to come. I think teaching health is great for kids to learn in the home as well as school. My only concern is that if its education being funded by the government will they push the same foods that the FDA recommends. Foods that are GMO , and or lacking nutritional substance or heavily laden with chemicals and preservatives. I think a great place to begin would be hands on student learning with gardens in more schools to start teaching kids about where there food begins and how it looks and tastes in its most natural state. Then we need to teach them about how we care for the environment and soil impacts the quality and nutrition of our foods. As well as the animals we eat and how they are cared for in different environments and how different things effect them. We need to be teaching real portions and what different foods do to help fuel the body. I know it sounds like a lot. But we should give our kids more credit. They are so smart. If they are armed with knowledge they will use it. Instead if just saying eat this not that. The body is amazing and so is our planet. We need to teach that.

      • Karen Giangrosso

        like your ideas, mom of 3!