NORTH OGDEN --SFlbPopular body-shape myths: The ideal woman should look like Barbie; the ideal man should be able to shred a block of cheese on his abdominal muscles.
Not even close.
If Barbie were real, her measurements would be so out of proportion she wouldn't be able to walk. And those abs? Well, it's hard for most men to attain them without popping steroids.
"Steroids cause you to have acne, cancerous tumors and makes you very angry," Jack Diamond told a group of fifth- and sixth-graders at Bates Elementary School.
"So, let's see here. We've got an angry guy covered in acne and cancerous tumors. Real dreamy."
Diamond is an actor for the Emmy Award-winning company Food Play. The Boston-area company tours the nation teaching students about the importance of healthy lifestyles and nutrition.
The show is part of Intermountain Healthcare's ongoing LiVe public service campaign, aimed at changing adolescent attitudes about eating, exercise and body image.
Actor Kelly Sullivan joined Diamond in the 45-minute comedic presentation about the dangers of obesity, anorexia, diabetes, osteoporosis, smoking and unhealthy eating habits.
During one routine, the actors discussed what they were having for lunch. Diamond pulled out a 32-ounce Mountain Dew and said he was proud to be getting enough fluids.
"Did you know there are 30 teaspoons of sugar in that drink?" Sullivan said. "When I said you need fluids, I meant water."
Then Diamond said he was getting plenty of fruits and vegetables: ketchup on his cheeseburger, apples in his apple fritter and potatoes in his potato chips.
Sullivan broke the news: Those don't count.
When Diamond came out dressed like broccoli, the students laughed and cheered. To get his message across to the students, he also dressed as a chef, Paris Hilton and an athlete.
Dr. Jana Delgado, a pediatrician at Intermountain Healthcare's North Ogden clinic, also attended the production.
She said she is seeing more obese young patients, as well as higher levels of cholesterol, blood sugar and Type II diabetes.
"I also see a lack of fruits and vegetables when I ask parents about their kids' diets," she said. "They usually tell me their kids eat chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, something fast from the freezer."
Delgado said a lot of the problem stems from parents' busy work schedules, but kids are also spending more time eating and less time exercising.
"Instead of going outside and playing, they are watching TV or playing on the computer. In the past, this is a problem pediatricians just haven't had to deal with."
Delgado tries to educate her patients by referring them to the LiVe Web site, www.intermountainlive.org, and talking to them about healthy food choices.
"They don't have to skip their favorite foods, but they should limit them," she said. "They can also take peanut butter and put it on some celery. There are a lot of options."