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.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

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.

What was the episode’s theme?
I believe the theme of the third episode is creating change through having everyone buy in to an idea. This is a very important concept in the paradigm of societal and personal change. Research is very clear that children and adolescents are more accepting of new foods when they see their peers and mentors enjoying the food. It was obvious that Jamie didn't have much buy in for his proposed changes in the elementary school. However, during this episode, he worked with the students to create an environment of change and things seemed to run more smoothly.

What wasn’t addressed?
I would have liked to have seen Jamie address the USDA guidelines for meal pattern requirements. The scene where Rhonda McCoy chastised Jamie for not providing enough vegetables in the teriyaki stir fry made the school lunch meals appear to be out of control with regard to rules. This was especially apparent when the grilled chicken, French fries and salad bar (which hardly anyone visited) "counted" as a reimbursable meal, but the stir fry with seven vegetables did not. In my opinion Jamie should have pointed out that Rhonda was following the meal pattern outlined by the USDA. The USDA looks at quantity of the serving (in this case vegetables). Jamie was more concerned about quality of the vegetable. In a perfect world, French fries would not count as a vegetable (unsurprisingly, they are the No. 1 consumed vegetable in the US) and Jamie would have served a second vegetable on the tray with the stir fry to achieve the appropriate quantity.

In addition, Jamie mentioned that the changes at the high school were much easier to make. He shut down the French fry line and handed out his recipe, but the show didn't provide any feedback from the students. I wonder what they thought about the food?

Finally, I wish Jamie would have found some help for Brittany. This would not only help her, but also let other people who are struggling with their weight know where they can turn for help. There are plenty of health professionals (registered dietitians included) and weight management programs in the Huntington area that could help Brittany lose weight and also reverse the liver disease.

How were Huntington/ the school system portrayed?
It appeared that Alice was once again portrayed as angry and bitter. However, she did have a point. School cook positions have been cut and it is very difficult for the cooks to spend a significant amount of time preparing foods from scratch, instead of just heating. In addition, since every show opens with the DJ's negative dialogue, this appears to be used as a poor influence on the community. On the other hand, the changes made at the high school seemed to be more positive and well-received. The restaurant scene showed the Cabell County Superintendent multiple times. I felt like this was a positive gesture, hopefully to show support for the change Jamie was creating.

Any progress made?
Yes, I feel that progress was made. Jamie seemed to have made in roads in the high school, and had a great fundraiser for the cook's training. It was really great to have such a wide variety of students supporting his efforts. Most of all, I feel like progress was made in shedding light on the obesity epidemic. The stastics of obesity often make the enormity of this issue impersonal. Hearing the raw details of Brittany's life-long struggle with weight gain, as well as Marisa's tragic loss of her father and uncle due to obesity, brings an immediacy to the issue that many people do not often see.