Nick Offerman's Hilarious Video Says A Lot About Our Eating Habits

July 14th 2015

Laura Donovan

Comedian Nick Offerman channels his "Parks and Recreation" character Ron Swanson in a parody Funny or Die video about healthy eating. Offerman portrays a food expert name Daniel Frances who says pizza should play a larger role in an individual's diet. The American Heart Association sponsored the video to promote its movement to increase access to healthy foods in schools.

"The government tells us that we need to offer healthy choices in school lunches, but what is healthy really?" Offerman states at the beginning of the clip before holding up a corn dog and apple to ask viewers which is better.

"The answer may surprise you," he says. 

Offerman then walks viewers through a "pizza farm," where men are "hard at work growing the right juicy pizzas your kids love."

"What could be healthier than this: acres of pizzas kissed by the sun, stretching as far as the eye can see?" he says before pulling a slice off a tree to scarf down himself. "Fresh pepperoni, straight from Mother Earth. We also have orchards of Taquito trees soaking up the minerals and vitamins from the sun before we pick 'em and deliver 'em straight to those school lunch trays."

A little girl then approaches to ask for a Taquito. He offers her an apple instead, but she insists on the junk food.

"You see, kids know what their bodies need," Offerman says before the child spits out her Taquito.

"My teeth feel soft," she says, prompting Offerman to shoo her away.

Offerman takes viewers to a field that produces "hot, moist sloppy joes all year-round thanks to the nutrients in the Cola we use to water 'em." The actor then drinks what appears to be Coca Cola from a hose.

"Like mother's milk," he says. "We all want our kids to eat healthy, all-natural food, so stop pushing gross fruits and vegetables on them and let them dig into a fresh-picked bushel of hot flakey fish fingers."

The fun is ruined, however, when the camera turns to a woman stapling pizza slices to the trees.

"They keep falling off, we can't get these to stick on the branches," she says. "I'm sorry."

Offerman's conclusion? "If it's on a plant, it's good for you. Who cares how it got there? French fries are practically salads, which is why I like mine with Ranch."

Offerman's video may be funny, but childhood obesity is no laughing matter in the U.S. As ATTN: reported earlier this year, the societal cost of obesity could exceed $1.1 trillion, according to research conducted by public policy nonprofit the Brookings Institute and the World Food Center of the University of California Davis. Factoring in the 12.7 million obese children in America and analyzing data on obesity, the study revealed that the individual cost is almost $100,000 for every obese adult. If these kids remain obese into adulthood, the societal costs will go beyond $1.1 trillion. 

Brookings Institute research associate Matthew Kassman said at the time of the findings that children are more likely to develop illnesses associated with obesity such as heart disease, are at a greater risk of mortality, and prompt health costs on an individual and public level.

"These health costs are felt in multiple different categories," Kassman said. "The first is private costs: those that are borne by individuals themselves ... direct and indirect costs such as quality of life and lost wages. There's also public costs: those that are borne by taxpayers and private firms, and again these are direct in terms of healthcare and indirect such as lost productivity."

In March, a study from the University of Iowa found that children who partake in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's School Breakfast Program (SBP) perform better in science, math, and reading than their non-participating counterparts.

"These results suggest that the persistent exposure to the relatively more nutritious breakfast offered through the subsidized breakfast program throughout elementary school can yield important gains in achievement," study researcher David Frisvold told Science Daily when the study was released.

Angela, a mother of three in Los Angeles, previously told ATTN: that her elementary school daughters like participating in the SBP program because of the food and social experiences it presents.

"My daughters enjoy breakfast at school," she said. "Their school provides healthy choices for them, including fruit and yogurt, and it's a great way for them to start their day."