A recent review of Body Quest: Food of the Warrior in the March, 2017 issue presented an unbalanced commentary. Body Quest is not a weight-focused curriculum, but the review consistently emphasized body size and weight-related stigma. This curriculum has absolutely no focus on weight as a direct measurement or outcome, nor is weight used as an explicit or implicit teaching construct.
Body Quest is an evidence-based, general nutrition education initiative focused on preventing childhood obesity through positive healthy eating behavior reinforcement. It is widely published in peer-reviewed journals, including JNEB, and has received much national recognition.
According to the review, “School-based healthy eating interventions can increase weight stigma with their focus on ‘good foods,’ ‘bad foods,’ and ‘appropriate body sizes.’”
1The review cited what was termed a “nuanced example” from an activity to create discussion around social norms related to snacking. The point of the activity is to help children understand social messages related to eating. Body Quest has zero focus on good foods, bad foods, or appropriate body size. In fact, there is no mention of these issues in the Leader’s Guide or any other supporting Body Quest materials.
- Ferdinands A.R.
Body Quest: Food of the Warrior.
J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017; 49: 271
The 7 Body Quest superheroes give children a standard to emulate. In keeping with the superhero theme, students sign a vow card to: (1) try new fruits and vegetables, (2) share what I learn with my family and friends, (3) learn to eat healthy foods every day, and (4) have fun on my quest. This vow does not “instill guilt,” as stated in the review, but gives students positive goals.
The review states that asking children to be brave by trying new foods is instigating an “unneeded fear.” Being brave is a continuation of the superhero theme. Ellyn Satter, whose work was referenced in the review, posits that children should have responsibility to choose what and how much to eat. Body Quest gives children the same important rights while building healthy eating skills.
Overall, the Body Quest developers believe the review was biased in its focus on weight-related stigma. The Guidelines for Authors of Educational Material Reviews for JNEB advise potential reviewers to declare any conceptual conflict of interest or strong personal objection to the content before submitting a review. It is possible the reviewer’s background in bariatric surgery settings does not align well with the content and may color her view of general nutrition education.
- Body Quest: Food of the Warrior.J Nutr Educ Behav. 2017; 49: 271
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.
©2017 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Published by Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
ScienceDirectAccess this article on ScienceDirect
- Body Quest: Food of the WarriorJournal of Nutrition Education and BehaviorVol. 49Issue 3
- Response to Body Quest: Food of the WarriorJournal of Nutrition Education and BehaviorVol. 49Issue 7
- PreviewI appreciate the opportunity to respond to the Body Quest developers' concerns1 regarding my review of Body Quest: Food of the Warrior.2 I am somewhat perplexed by the authors' statement that Body Quest is not a weight-focused curriculum, when its overarching aim is to prevent childhood obesity. I recognize that the focus is on fruit and vegetable consumption, but the authors describe this as a means of helping children reach a healthy weight. Even if the program is designed as a nutrition education curriculum, we still need to think critically about weight bias in developing and implementing such programs to avoid unintentionally contributing to further weight bias in society.