As a community pediatrician, I was frustrated with my inability to effect lasting change on the dietary proclivities of my young patients. I felt hindered by the bureaucracies of "Big Medicine" and outgunned by the branding masterminds and massive pocketbooks of "Big Junk Food."
Dunk the Junk is our solution to that frustration.
We at Dunk the Junk want to educate kids on the perils of excessive junk food consumption and excite them about eating unprocessed food straight from the land. We put our emphasis on getting sugar out of the diet, particularly sugar from sugary drinks (because this is what the science tells us works the best).
In our design we made sure to incorporate what we know from the psychology literature about motivational change. Kids must be motivated to change and feel that the decision to change is their own.
We recognized that in order to reroute the gastronomical fate of our generation, we needed a campaign that could compete with the pizazz of junk food. We chose graffiti, hip hop, and acrobatic slam dunks to deliver our message.
Once we excite kids about changing their eating habits, we then show them how. We have designed a graffiti animated "Top 10 Foods to Dunk out of Your Diet" featuring graffiti art by Mike Rich and dunking by 2011 College Dunk Champion Jacob Tucker.
The Top 10 is free for anyone to use on our website. As a supplement to this free online nutrition education we have a Top 10 Foods to Dunk Poster with stickers, which can be ordered through our site’s shopping cart. The Top 10 teaches children and families simple ways to get sugar out of their diets.
With my brother, I've also written an illustrated alphabet book to excite kids about trying new foods. It also provides an appendix in the back teaching new parents how to introduce solids to their babies in an unprocessed fashion.
To celebrate Food Day 2012, Dunk the Junk invades California. We will be painting a massive public mural in Richmond, CA in support of their soda tax initiative on October 5; hosting our West Coast Launch Party and Art Auction in San Francisco on October 6; and launching our education program in the Palm Springs Unified School District the following week, which includes school assemblies with murals accompanied by a free nutrition training seminar for parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, and community health educators.
Dr. Kevin Strong and Dunk the Junk will also be in Wellesely, MA for Babson College's 2-day Food Day celebration on October 23 and 24. Join the Dunk the Junk crew, Bizarre Food's Andrew Zimmern, and hundreds of locals as they celebrate food systems innovations and entrepreneurship.
This Food Day, celebrate good health and community resiliency by pouring one out.
Kevin Strong, MD, is a Community Pediatrician and Founder of nonprofit Dunk the Junk.
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