All over the United States this summer, in every county, the youth of America are celebrating the 4-H fair. Some are showing their cows, pigs, lambs, and llamas; many are displaying their homemade butter cakes, yeast rolls, cookies, and garden produce; most are having the time of their lives! All are participating in a week of county fair activities; everything from midway rides to tractor pulls to eating Funnel Cakes and Elephant Ears.
If you were a 4-H’er as a kid, you know the infamous pledge:
“I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
I wrote about the paradoxical message of 4-H pledge last summer on Disease Proof.
Recently, I was glancing through my hometown’s evening paper, and my eye caught the following title, “Technique Matters: Contestants feel the need for speed . . . eating.” 1 It was an article devoted to the pizza eating contest at the 4-H fair. An eleven-year-old boy won the contest by stacking one slice on top of the other before devouring them. He was interviewed and said that he didn’t really prepare, but ate rice the night before to expand his stomach. He enters the contest because it’s fun.
Are we really teaching the next generation of youth to devote his/her health to better living? . . . . to pledge their heads to clearer thinking?
As Dr. Fuhrman expressed in a follow-up post last year, “It’s not just the 4-H fair, it’s everywhere.” read more . . . .
What are your observations of the county fairs and festivals this summer? What tangible and proactive ways can we be contributors and role models of health to this next generation? Let’s dialogue and see if we can come up with some innovative solutions to this ongoing crisis.
1 The News Sentinel; July 23, 2010, 3L, by Paige Chapman
image credits: 4-H emblem, extension.iastate.edu; boy eating pizza, freshbrothers.com