Emmy-nominated Web series aims to halt childhood obesity

Fizzy’s Lunch Lab—an interactive Web series with cartoon characters acting out funny stories to emphasize the importance of good nutrition, a balanced diet and physical activity–has been nominated for a Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award. And there’s a Vanderbilt connection.

Sharon Shields, professor of the practice of human and organizational development; Heather Smith, assistant professor of the practice of human and organizational development; and Dianne Killebrew, an educational coordinator and specialist in the medical center’s dietetic internship department, are education consultants for the series. Dr. Craig Sussman, associate professor of clinical medicine, is the health and nutrition adviser.

[rquote]Aimed at children aged 6 to 8, the series strives to encourage children and parents to spend more time in the kitchen and less time heading to the drive-through.[/rquote] The mission of the series is ambitious: To halt the childhood obesity epidemic.

Each week, the website releases a new animated short video along with a recipe for children and parents. Professor Fizzy and his friends get together in the Lunch Lab Test Kitchen to prepare healthy snacks, investigate the difference between good and bad food, and learn what happens once food enters the body.

Shields, Smith and Killebrew created the family and teacher lesson plans that accompany the Lunch Lab episodes. Executive producers for the animated series are Dave Schalafman and Evan Sussman, Craig Sussman’s son.

The show is nominated in the category of “new approaches to daytime children’s entertainment.” The awards announcement is set for June 25 in Los Angeles, to be followed by the awards show on June 27.

Fizzy’s Lunch Lab is produced by CloudKid Studios and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. To view the site, go to: http://pbskids.org/lunchlab/