A message from a cereal box

In Canada, a popular breakfast cereal is Multi-Grain Cheerios by General Mills. This morning, while having breakfast, I was reading the back of the box of Cheerios. This is what I read:

We believe that:

Nutrition is healthier than deprivation.

Diets are full of empty promises.

Weight scales can’t measure self-confidence.

Measuring tapes can’t track happiness.

Dress sizes don’t determine our worth.

Eating well means being well – mind, body and spirit.

At first glance, the first two lines in the message seem inappropriate. Of course, nutrition is better than deprivation; we all need to eat to survive. And how can diets not be promising? Diabetic, cardiac or vegetarian diets can promote health.

However, in this message, Cheerios is aiming at the downside of dieting – when diets cause harm, particularly to young girls struggling with their body image.

Reaching a desired body weight or figure, or wearing certain types of clothes do not necessarily lead to happiness or health. To be genuinely happy and healthy, young women should live a balanced life, accept their individuality and enjoy life’s journey.

One aspect of enjoying the journey is to eat mindfully. You should eat when you are hungry and not fear your appetite. You should enjoy foods that are good for your health. You should live a lifestyle that makes you happy, healthy and wholesome  in mind, body and soul.

So, live well, eat healthy and enjoy life. It would be nice if more companies could help young girls become whom they are meant to be. In fact, everyone can benefit from the message on the back of the Cheerios box.

p.s: Dear General Mills, your health message at the back of the Multi-Grain Cheerios box is well appreciated and the cereal, when compared to other kinds, is a fairly healthy choice. Howevever, it would be nice if you could make the “whole grains” in the cereal even more whole – without the added salt and sugar. In doing so, your message on the back of the box would be more congruent with the cereal that is in the box.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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