Marketing professor William Scott created the Samantha Skunk program to help teach kids about the dangers of smoking. Now he’s helping kids lead healthier lives through Rollie Robin, a fun way to teach youngsters about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?
I made a statement in my marketing class that we can make people do anything we want to make them do. Two students challenged me to stop kids from starting to smoke. I developed an anti-smoking program called Samantha Skunk. When obesity took over as a health problem, I used the same techniques for the obesity program that I had used in the anti-smoking program — motivate with fun, recognition, a sense of accomplishment and involvement.
How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?
I developed a way to get kids attention and motivate kids to eat better and be more physically active. Rollie Robin competes with Burger King and Ronald McDonald by providing individual and group recognition, a sense of accomplishment and fun when the kids make healthy choices. Rollie is a robin who cannot fly because he eats the wrong food and is not physically active. The kids show Rollie how to help himself to, “Healthy eating, lots of play — make healthy choices every day.” This slogan is repeated many times during the presentation.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?
Convincing the University of New Hampshire theater students to produce a play of the Rollie Robin story (see the Dec. 20, 2012 edition of the Inside Track for more details). UNH students are set to debut the play in the summer of 2013 throughout New England.
Who is your role model in your work?
The former surgeon general, C. Everett Koop. He was the first effective surgeon general to take on corporate interests around health issues and win.
What game or sport did you play growing up? What healthy snacks did you eat?
I played football and basketball. As a child, healthy snacks were not a social consideration.
Want to take part in Gimme Five? Contact PreventObesity.net’s Zach Brooks.
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Leaders are people who are actively working - either professionally or as volunteers - to change policies and environments to help children eat better and be more active. We use the following criteria to evaluate whether to approve an applicant for Leader status with the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center.
Do you meet the criteria below? If so, register as a Leader here. There is no cost to be a Leader.
At least one item must be checked within each of the following two categories:
1. Applicant is focused on changing policies and environments
They are working on one of Voices for Healthy Kid's six issue areas:
Ensure foods and beverages in schools meet dietary guidelines
Expand community access to high quality food
Expand physical activity programs in and out of school
Improve built environment in communities to increase physical activity
Use pricing strategies to promote purchase of healthier foods
Use regulation/policy to reduce youth exposure to unhealthy food marketing
They are working on other obesity-related issues, such as:
Their primary focus is working on individual behavior (e.g., teaching kids about food, play, etc.), but they have access to organizations that could provide opportunities to change environments, such as
Public Health Agencies
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2. Applicant is organizing others or contributing to organizing efforts
They are organizing others by:
Providing volunteer opportunities
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Federal or state agency
Mayor or other local executive office
Federal, state, county or local public health department
Federal, state, county or transportation department
Federal, state or local education agency or school board
If the applicant claims to work for an organization, at least one item must be checked below:
3. Applicant works for an organization:
Has an email address that matches the domain of the organization they list
Is listed on the organization website as staff
The Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center is looking for bloggers who can write about issues that matter to our community on a regular basis. If you would like to be considered for this network, please check this box.