(photo: Kevin Strong, M.D., Founder DTJ)
Kevin Strong, M.D. is the mastermind behind Dunk The Junk, a program that is committed to America's youth and has found the 'plain-sight' cure to this nations junk food epidemic... Let's take a look:
1) It’s such a catchy phrase, ‘Dunk The Junk,’ who thought of that idea?
I wanted to create a cool brand, to compete with the predatory pizazz of BIG JUNK FOOD. I love [basketball], and I was so tired of seeing a million junk food ads and images every time I tuned in. My plan was to inspire a counter-culture movement in the [basketball], hip-hop and graffiti worlds, to dismantle the junk food epidemic with STYLE. DUNK IT!
2) How does your organization zone-in on helping people? The science is clear. Sugar consumption (particularly through sugar-sweetened drinks), is the biggest contributor to the obesity and Type II Diabetes epidemic. We attract kids with our street art, ethos savvy beats and acrobatic slam-dunks; and then educate them about the perils of excessive sugar intake.
3) During the Fall of 2011, as a way to curb poor diets, several elementary schools in the U.S., issued new rules that prevented parents from preparing ‘Bag-lunches’ for their own children. What are your thoughts on such legislation? Ridiculous! Have you taken a look at what the public schools serve kids for breakfast and lunch? As an example, Fruit Loops, Trix, chocolate milk and peaches -in heavy syrup- for breakfast… This ‘nutritious’ [meal] contains 13 teaspoons of added sugar, which is 2-times more than the American Heart Association recommends for the entire day (for an adult woman). Perhaps, you could argue in support of that move, if schools were serving quinoa, tofu and steamed asparagus. Not!
4) When certain demographics of people, such as low-income families, are inundated with un-healthy food stores placed in their neighborhoods (e.g. fried food carry-outs/liquor stores/etc.), is there a chance that such business practices are methodical or is it just happenstance? Junk food is where the profits are. Food companies want [money]. The more junk they sell, the better the bottom line.
5) Even further, when certain demographics of people, such as upper-income families, are pleasured with healthier food stores placed in their neighborhoods (e.g. farmer’s markets/coffee and tea shops/etc.), is there a chance that such business practices are methodical or is it just happenstance? I love the concept of the farmer’s market, however, they are often expensive to shop at, or a far distance to travel. Healthier eating does not need to be expensive. Milled grain is half the CPU (cost per unit), of sugar cereal. Drinking free, tap water, instead of soda or sugary drinks, is cost-savings and will have the biggest, single impact on reversing the epidemic. Rice and beans -with some veggies- and water, for dinner, is cheaper than McDonald’s.
6) The comparison and contrast of the two, previous questions highlight the issue(s) of ‘access to healthy food’ in our society. Based on your observation(s), what causes the breakdown to such access, and how can these issues be resolved? Our approach, at Dunk the Junk, is to put the emphasis on the most impactful change. We all need to stop buying and drinking sugar-sweetened beverages and drink FREE water instead. We all need to take advantage of the luxury of a free and safe water supply. Through our innovative, education methods, we hope to shift the demand away from junk food and towards unprocessed, raw foods; rotten bananas are a common site at the roadside stores in Maine, they are being passed up for junk. I do not fault store owners who choose not to stock bananas, when I see them rotting on the shelves. If we are successful in our mission, more companies, stores and distributors will be forced to bring the good stuff. We clearly have our work cut out for us.
7) Do you feel that the current, First Lady of the United States, is doing a good job of educating America on the importance of exercise and a healthy diet? The First Lady is doing a great job on the exercise piece, however, if the goal of her campaign was to reverse the obesity epidemic, then a slogan like, “Let’s Not Drink Sugar,” makes much more sense. The science clearly shows that the best way to reverse obesity and Type II Diabetes is to consume less sugar (particularly sugar we drink). I find it hard to believe that our government’s top, nutrition advisors are not aware of this science.
8) In 2012, while citizens are simultaneously baited with fast-food advertisements and weight-loss solutions, is it important to eat healthy? Junk is junk. Real food is real food. Our bodies and organs have evolved over millions of years to eat food straight from the land. We need to return to our roots and get back to the essence of food. There is something primal and seductive about raw food and we need to tap [into] that energy, pick up some raw food and DUNK THE JUNK, it feels good.