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Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment’

Television and Body Image

November 12, 2010

It seems that television has an incredibly strong effect on our kids’ body image.  Television, especially advertisements, depict a world of wafer-like slim models that lead impressionable children to measure themselves against what they see on the screen.

A landmark study, recently brought to my attention, was conducted by Harvard Medical School focussing on Fiji.  Prior to the introduction of television in Fiji body weight was seen as sensual thing and hardly something to be anxious about.

The Harvard Medical School visited Fiji to evaluate the effect of the introduction of television on body satisfaction and disordered eating in adolescent girls.

In 1995, television arrived and within three years the percentage of girls demonstrating body dissatisfaction rose from 12.7 per cent to 29.2 per cent.  

Dieting among teenagers who watched TV increased dramatically to two in every three girls and the rate of self-induced vomiting leapt from zero to 11.3 per cent.

I am not advocating against the right for advertisers or television executives to sell products and make the kind of entertainment that sells.  I do however, request that wherever possible, all involved make responsible choices and consider the effect their content has on impressionable children.

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Jamie Oliver to the Rescue

November 9, 2010

Just what we needed after last weeks downplaying of our childhood obesity problems.

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launched his “Ministry of Food Australia” scheme on Monday, aiming to teach people “down under” how to cook and eat more healthily.

“Today will be a landmark day in the history of Australia’s fight against obesity,” Oliver said in a statement.

As you may know, I am so passionate about this issue, I have written a novel featuring a boy grappling with body image issues.  It is great to see that Oliver’s successful British campaign is now coming to Australia.

The Inconvenient Truth About the National Curriculum

October 27, 2010

So the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority reportedly has said An Inconvenient Truth has a place in modern history studies and English.

In my opinion the new Australian Curriculum is a very flawed document and needs to be fixed from its current draft state.  My biggest problem with it is that it doesn’t just tell us what topics to cover, but also what angle to use.

An example of this is climate change.  The word ‘consensus’ which has been bandied around lately does not belong in the classroom.  The classroom is best served by looking at all sides of an issue and letting the students come to their own conclusions.  Instead, the National Curriculum wants teachers to teach climate science with a clear and unambiguous position.

In a recent unit on Weather, I played an excerpt of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.  I think it’s an interesting movie and has a place in the classroom. However, the curriculum should encourage teachers to present opposing views.

Perhaps the film could be shown together with the recent documentary Cool It to present both sides of the argument.

Provide the tools, and let the kids decide.


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