Friday, December 24, 2021

Animated Film Looks To Reduce Childhood Obesity In The Black Community

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The Double V campaign, created by the Pittsburgh Courier and supported by the Black press, captured and gave voice to the frustration of African-American soldiers who fought valiantly overseas during World War II, only to return to the same racial restrictions that they left.

While the campaign for democracy remains vital for African-Americans, an equally critical sphere of doom looms over the protesters' descendants and warrants the attention and support of the Black press. This sphere of doom is childhood obesity.

The State of Obesity, a publication by the Robert Woods Foundation, reports that between 2019 and 2020, the childhood obesity rate for Black youth ages 10 through 17 was 28.3%. Studies show that children today may be the first generation of children to have shorter lives than their parents. For Black children, especially those growing up in urban areas served by Black newspapers, the future looks even more bleak, absent immediate intervention. This intervention must take into account how Black children learn and what they enjoy.

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Otherwise, it won't work. Since its inception in 2005, Nuts About Health, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) health education organization, has been trying to find the right vehicle to reach and teach children and their parents how to prevent childhood obesity. Two years ago, the organization asked the question: What are kids doing all day, every day, over and over, in every American household? Watching animated films. It was this epiphany that led the organization to write Nutsville: the Movie, an animated full-feature 2D children’s film that follows the adventures of a young nut, and his three friends. On their journey to self-discovery and optimal health, the three friends tackle the Obesity Monster and his poor-health-eating agents, Mr. Fry and Little Chip.

Watch the sneak preview in the video above.

When asked why Nutsville: The Movie is a necessary tool in the organization’s battle against childhood obesity, Dawn M. Slade, Executive Director of Nuts About Health, Inc. responds, “I have been battling childhood obesity since I was an obese child. Based on my personal experience and my work with young children over the years, I knew we needed an unconventional solution to the childhood obesity crisis.” Slade notes that the conventional methods of reaching and teaching young children about healthy eating are not enough to effect change or offset the desire for junk foods and fast foods.

According to Dawn, junk foods and fast foods “have been expertly engineered for addiction and aggressively marketed to young children as young as two-years-old.” Nutsville: the Movie is an unconventional vehicle for teaching children and their parents about healthy food choices. “We recognize that little kids watch their favorite movies over and over again, and enlist their parents in watching them too,” explains Dawn.

“Nutsville: The Movie captures the attention of young viewers and teaches them about healthy eating and living while enjoying a lively and engaging storyline that includes catchy musical numbers. Since Nutsville is destined to become their new favorite animated film, Nutsville will deliver a continuous reel of good health messages to kids and their parents, through a cast of fun and compelling characters,” states Dawn.

Veronica B. Chandler wrote the screenplay for Nutsville: The Movie with Summer Martin and Gregory Smith, two talented screenwriters. “It has been an immense privilege for us to bring Nutsville to life,” says Veronica. “I am excited to see how audiences will react to the world we have created.” Gregory Smith is also a voiceover artist who provides the voices for the main characters. The original music is created and produced by Colon Hayward, a seasoned musician, and composer. Donijah Collier, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, which specializes in Arts and Media disciplines, serves as the movie’s Visual Consultant.

Nuts About Health Inc., a New Haven, Connecticut-based health organization, was founded by the late Ruby H. Slade, a mother of four, diabetes-prevention advocate, and early childhood education expert. The organization offers information, tools, research, and strategies to empower people to embrace and practice healthy lifestyle habits.

Nuts About Health, Inc. provides free community programs and activities that include nutrition education workshops for youth. “We teach youth that to halt obesity, decrease chronic disease and improve health, they must change what they eat by moving away from the refined, processed, commercial-driven and obesity-causing Standard American Diet (SAD),” says Dawn. “In order for people to replace SAD with a whole, natural, plant-based diet, they must change their taste buds, and as Nutsville’s main character Andrew Almonds says, ‘to change your taste buds, you have to educate their taste buds.’”

Nutsville: The Movie is being funded through donations from individuals and businesses and through other funding sources. Dawn comments, “We are raising funds to complete a 2D animated short that will serve as a pilot to pitch to investors for a full-length movie."

For those who wish to support Nutsville: The Movie, Nuts About Health Inc. is accepting donations to this project at or via mail to Nuts About Health, Inc. at 566 Winthrop Ave., New Haven, Connecticut 06511. All donations are tax-deductible.

Nutsville: The Movie is Nuts About Health, Inc.’s weapon to annihilate the obesity monster. With the help of the Black press, the organization can give children victory over obesity and poor health.

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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