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Magazine encourages kids to cook, aims to reduce childhood obesity

I'm a few days late to this, but a writer with the Columbia Journalism Review has some great things to say about ChopChop, a new children's magazine that is "beautiful and engaging" and "empowers kids to cook and eat healthy foods, offers recipes even adult foodies will love, and aims to help reduce childhood obesity..." (Indeed, curtailing obesity is part of the publication's mission statement.) Trudy Lieberman writes:

ChopChop is the brainchild of cookbook author Sally Sampson who was casting about for ways to use her skills to do something about obesity. She approached Dr. Barry Zuckerman, chief of pediatrics at Boston Medical Center, who loved her idea and suggested it was a natural for pediatricians’ offices. And so ChopChop was born three years ago with an initial print run of 150,000. (The Boston Globe ran a business page story soon after the magazine debuted). Today its circulation is half a million with a new distribution strategy. “We changed the model to be where kids are,” Sampson said.  That means schools, community centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other groups that serve low-income children.  Half the magazines go to doctors’ offices and organizations and the rest are bulk sales. Of course, the public can buy a subscription too.

Sampson wants to “change eating habits one bite at a time” and encourage families to eat together. She believes people don’t cook anymore, but if kids can bring the magazine home and ask “can we roast carrots,” that’s a step in the right direction. The fall issue featured a family dinner and showed a family dining on roast chicken with roasted root vegetables like onions, carrots and sweet potatoes. There was a recipe for basic chicken soup that encourages the kids to use left over chicken and offers riffs on the soup—curried chicken soup, tortilla soup, tortellini soup.

Lieberman also points out how important this type of thing is from a policy perspective:

...In America, where more than one-third of adults and 17 percent of children are obese, stopping obesity in kids long before they become young adults with health problems is crucial. Efforts like ChopChop’s are significant. Illness and death resulting from too much of the wrong foods contribute mightily to the growing US health care bill threatening the stability of government programs like Medicare and Medicaid and contributing to the high insurance premiums the rest of us must pay.

Previously: Can cooking classes help curb childhood obesity?, Children and obesity: What can parents do to help?, Smaller plates may be a tool to curtail childhood obesity and Obesity in kids: A growing and dangerous epidemic
Photo by andrewmalone

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