Using Hip Hop & Graffiti To Fight Childhood Obesity

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(CNN) — Editor’s note: Dr. Kevin Strong is a pediatrician in Camden, Maine, and the founder of Dunk the Junk. For more on Kevin and Dunk the Junk, watch “Sanjay Gupta, MD” Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. EST.

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 pizzaz 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 continue to disseminate our mission unhindered by the bureaucracies of large institutions and free from the financial influence of large corporations, we are committed to offering cool merchandise that functions to captivate, educate, and fiscally propagate our mission.

Proceeds fuel the dissemination of nutrition education to those most in need.

So get out there and Dunk the Junk!

By Dr. Kevin Strong

Special to CNN

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