We are at disneyworld. I am really impressed with the selection of healthy food options here. I thought it was going to be all sugar all the time. You can get grapes and apple slices in little bags!
This is a piece I’m working on as part of a large scale video project (consider this one a draft).
A couple weeks ago the New York Times reported a story about tooth decay in toddlers. I must say I was shocked and horrified…and realized once again the need for education. Turns out these parents didn’t realize they needed to brush their children’s teeth or decided it wasn’t worth the effort becuase of how hard it is. It is hard. We used to have to just about completely immobolize our child so that we could brush her teeth. Luckily, while she was screaming she opened her mouth. I am pretty relaxed about parenting but this is one area I won’t let go off under any circumstances–too many horrible dental experiences as a kid. The summary from the article was to get kids’ teeth checked at their 1st birthday, brush their teeth twice a day and not let them drink juice all the time. Our pediatrician told us this stuff — what I’d like to know is are other doctors not doing due dilligence about informing parents about how best to take care of their children? If not why not? Also, why aren’t parents paying more attention?
I gave my friend and collegue, Reni Gower, a skull while we were in LA. She took it back to Richmond, VA and had a lot of fun with it — from a visit
to her accountant, the hardware store, even the VMFA!
I was talking about the Too Much project just today with one of those super insightful friends (thanks Barbara!) who got me to realize that, in addition to whatever particular idea my art is about (identity, pharmaceuticals, bioethics, sugar, etc.), that what I really end up doing is making work about bringing together a community — it gives me great pleasure to have Reni actually take the time to take a skull across the country and shoot it in so many places, then send me the photos. I think what I really try to do is bring people together over art…get folks talking about something, debating its construct, coming up with new connections and new ideas. Making &!*@! happen, which works so much better when many people are moved to do something….
Yesterday I met with a highly rated pediatrician, who said the childhood obesity problem is due to the quantity of food we eat rather than how much sugar or fat we consume. I asked him to elaborate. He said parents are constantly coming into his office exclaiming that they can’t get their children to eat anything. This particular doctor looks them in the eye and says it’s ok–your child is growing. I was one of those parents. After my daughter finished breastfeeding she slimmed down beautifully. Then she proceeded to become the pickiest eater I have ever seen. Until recently it was our goal and struggle each day to feed her. Yet when we took her to the doctor she stayed on a good weight/height track. The pediatrician believes that parents in the US treat food like gold and feel successful only if their child has eaten — a lot. I thought of how I worry that the milk, half sandwich and fruit cup I give my five year old for lunch is enough and have to reassure myself everyday that I, who is three times her size, eat only slightly more for lunch.
I still think the obesity problem is related to sugar in that we just don’t ask for a second banana or apple, but scream for ice cream and cookies. When parents are out of time/patience/experience/education, it is just too easy to hand them something easy, AKA unhealthy, just to shut those little darlings up and children will keep screaming if they are rewarded for it. Feeding children, like feeding ourselves, healthy food is hard. Anyone got any tricks to offer?
When I was in Los Angeles looking for places to place the work I asked a group of skateboarders if I could shoot the skulls on one of their boards. They agreed then let me video them while they practiced. They asked about the skulls and I told them about the “Too Much” project. One of the them said he tried to not eat too much sugar and exercise, but hurt himself on the board. I was really impressed that he was obviously paying attention to his body.