WHAT: A class of 7th graders will screen a half-hour show tackling the issue of weight discrimination. A University of California, Berkeley, expert on weight and nutrition was the consultant for "A Walk In Your Shoes," which will air on The N and Nickelodeon at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. Lesson plans are scheduled immediately before and after the screening, as well as a Q&A.
WHO: Joanne Ikeda, co-director of the UC Berkeley Center for Weight & Health, and Joan Brannigan, 7th grade teacher at Longfellow Middle School, will be leading the lessons and Q&A session as part of the student screening.
BACKGROUND: As the nation witnesses an alarming rise in obesity, the need to address body image and size discrimination becomes increasingly important, particularly among children, says Joanne Ikeda, nutrition education specialist in UC Cooperative Extension.
Ikeda worked with The N, a "tween" cable and satellite network owned by Nickelodeon, to develop a show about weight discrimination for the network's award-winning "A Walk In Your Shoes" series. In the episode, Laura, a thin cheerleader with preconceived notions about people who are overweight, spends time with Kim, a plus-sized teen. Laura dons a padded body suit to better understand the challenges Kim faces every day. In the process, stereotypes are broken and mutual respect develops between the two 16-year-olds.
"Our goal is to help young people understand the importance of accepting themselves and others for who they are, not for how much they weigh," said Ikeda. "We expect to generate some valuable discussion about these issues with students at Longfellow."