The Media’s War on Vegetables

Parents need to be aware of the media's anti-vegetable message.

The Family section of my morning newspaper features an enormous picture of a young child grimacing in disgust at a piece of broccoli she is holding gingerly between thumb and forefinger. The article below is about what parents should do about picky eaters.

What they should do is turn off the television.

I’ve lost count of the advertisements that assert the unloveliness of vegetables, especially of broccoli. A V8 ad shows a man reluctantly eating a piece of broccoli, recoiling at the fact that it “tastes so vegetably.”

A canned spaghetti ad shows a child feeding broccoli to the family dog under the table; the dog rejects it.

Somewhere in my notes I have additional examples. And it’s not just in the advertising that vegetables are presented as being unpalatable. Stand-up comics and others carry on the attack in general programming.

If the United States were a single person, that person would be diagnosed as mentally ill. On the one hand, children’s programming and public service announcements proclaim the importance of a balanced diet, while on the other hand, television advertising and programming insist that vegetables are disgusting.

Is it any wonder children develop an aversion to vegetables when they are told daily in the media that no one likes them? Children learn what they are taught. Parents need to be alert to what television is teaching them.

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