Locals review "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution"
"Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" focuses on Oliver's efforts in Huntington in 2009 to promote healthier eating habits by encouraging food preparation from fresh ingredients. Those efforts were focused on local schools, families and a kitchen to teach people how to cook. Each week, we will have local residents weigh in on the episodes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Amy Gannon's thoughts on the first episode

Amy Gannon is a registered dietitian who lives and practices in Charleston. She earned an undergraduate degree in human nutrition and foods from West Virginia University and completed a master’s degree and dietetic internship at Marshall University. In 2005, she earned a Certificate of Training in Pediatric and Adolescent Weight Management from the American Dietetic Association. She has been a consultant dietitian for the HealthyKids Weight Management Program at Charleston Area Medical Center for five years. She has experience in clinical dietetics, sales, community nutrition and higher education. She is currently serving as president of the W.Va. Dietetic Association and works as a youth specialist for WVU Extension Service- Family Nutrition Programs. In addition, Gannon is an adjunct professor for the Marshall University School of Medicine and owns a private consultative nutrition practice in Charleston.

QUESTION: What do you expect to see in this series?

AMY GANNON: “I expect to see a reality show with heart. Basically, Jamie Oliver has picked up on the obesity epidemic. I'm sure that he has good intentions for Huntington, but I know this is a reality show. He will show people that are resistant to change. I believe the idea is for Jamie to ride in on his white horse and save us all from ourselves- again, it is a reality show. I hope for two things: #1- he doesn't portray us with stereotypical Appalachian negativity and #2- the community learns something from this and does actually become healthier.”

QUESTION: After seeing the first episode, what are you expecting from the rest of series?

AMY GANNON: “ I expect more of what he showed tonight. Resistance regarding poor food choices and processed foods in schools. I expect that children will come around and start enjoying whole foods and realize that processed foods taste horrible compared to fresh. I expect that he will meet with more community people and the series will show the transition from bad eating and physical activity habits to good habits.”

QUESTION: How do you think Huntington/ the school system was portrayed?

AMY GANNON: “He really didn't portray the school system, just the food. In my opinion, last night's show was a poor reflection on the school food system. It seemed as if people didn't care that the children were eating so much processed food- and lots and lots of starch, fat and sugar. I don't think that's the real issue though. It's not that the cooks, principal, food service director, etc don't care. It's just that they have to work within the boundaries that they're given and follow USDA regulations. Clearly, there are issues on many levels.

QUESTION: Was your initial response to the episode positive or negative? Why?

AMY GANNON: “My initial response was positive. As a health care professional (Registered Dietitian), I am keenly aware of the childhood obesity epidemic. This is a battle that dietitians have been fighting for many years. I'm glad that Jamie Oliver is shedding light on this horrible situation. The only negative thing I can say is that I wish he would involve dietitians in creating nutritional change.”

QUESTION: Does Oliver make it clear why he came here?

AMY GANNON: “ Absolutely. He wants to change the food environment in the unhealthiest city in America. His motivation for this? Obviously, he's getting a reality show out of it. Otherwise, I'm still not sure about the motivation.”