A lot of people root against Shaq in basketball. For whatever reason, they look at his style of play, as thuggish. (It's usually put out by people that like other teams that play against him.)
But anyone that has ever seen the man with kids would see a special guy that cares a lot about them. He has such a way with them. Right now, he is involved with a program to help decrease childhood obesity. This promo will tell part of the story.
There are not many people having his star power that have tried to address this issue, in a creative way like this. Mixing education with fun is one thing that many may not know how to do. It's an art form, for sure. But, by doing it in a manner such as this, the potential for a positive return is much greater than most other approaches, certainly more than any government program could ever hope to realize.
Education by people that these kids adore and respect will get through to a them far quicker, than the government changing laws. Sure, you can force the kids to not eat food cooked in trans fats and they must comply. But you cannot stop them from eating the wrong foods, cooked in government approved cooking oils. There is much more to cutting down on obesity than politicians voting to ban certain things, all because the medical community says it's expedient to do so and they want votes.
Teaching proper diet is one of the utmost importance. But because many parents are lazy or busy (as hell), the fast food industry has become the all-important family cook for the evening meals. Ads for these places are all over and parents often must succumb to the need to hurry, get the kids fed, and get things done at home so that they can repeat their busy schedule the next day. Doing this sacrifices much of the kids health, present and future.
But think about this a minute. If the kids see those they emulate choosing well, it stands to reason that something like this can work. They do the stupid stuff their heroes do, why wouldn't it stand to reason some may follow down a better path, if led?
I think it does. But it's not going to have an instantaneous affect. It will take a generation to plant the seeds of healthy eating in their heads. First and foremost, the kids have to want to try things that are good for them, which is where those with their attention come into the picture. This means taking some risks, both the athletes and the kids.
After they find things they thought they didn't like, suddenly palatable, they will want to eat more of them. Once they start liking and eating good things more, they will begin to crave them when hungry.
The trick is for the food industry to look at how they market the better foods. Getting guys like Shaq to do this is a start.