Archive for childhood obesity

Do ‘Spiked’ authors feed theirkids junkfood and teach them to gamble?

Posted in Marketing, advertising, ethics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2011 by marketingheart

This is a diagram depicting the rise of overwe...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve blogged about the childhood obesity epidemic before but here’s some news about childhood obesity which might surprise you as it did I:

  • fat children generally consume no more food nor are less physically active than those of ‘normal’ weight
  • there is no evidence to support the assumption that fast-food outlets and the food they sell make people overweight and obese
  • eating junk food does not lead to obesity among children.
  • it is unclear that being a fat child carries significant health risks or increases one’s risk of becoming a fat adult.
  • there is no link in children between physical activity levels, food intake and obesity.
  • there is no relationship between a child’s BMI and his or her visits to a doctor or casualty rooms.

No, not my beliefs (and somewhat perplexing given the statistics shown in the graph above) but a well argued, well referenced article by John Luik and (the aptly named) Patrick Basham who coauthored, with Gio Gori, Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade. The article appears in a website called Spiked which says it is dedicated to waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.

Interesting. The sheer amount of studies he sites would make refuting the article a serious undertaking, best left to experts in the field. For my part, I thought I might just see who these guys are. Well for a start, other articles on Spiked by Patrick Basham and John Luik include the myth of an obesity tsunami and obesity hysterics. Also on Spiked others write along along simlar lines including Rob Lyons criticising the idea of displaying calories on restaurant menus and Peter Marsh asking what’s behind the sensationalist child obesity headlines. All this seems to have been sparked by Obama’s recent Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which for the first time ion 30 years allows the adminstration to make reforms to school meals and add nutrition programs for the 30 million school meals served daily. Basham attacked the Act in the New York Post earlier this month NOT by denying the problem of obesity (instantly abandoning his own rhetoric) but instead by having a go at farm subsidies which result in the widespread use of corn syrup – which he says “promotes obesity”! Ah the wicked we we weave….

Busy boy, that Basham. He also directs the Democracy Institute which has recently published another worthy tome  of his entitled Gambling – A Healthy Bet in which the authors tell us Gambling is good for us, is a net contributor to public health which adds to the sum of human happiness.

Maybe showing his hand just a little too much, the blurb goes on to say that ” the authors conclude that policymakers should leave gamblers – and the gambling industry – alone”.

Elsewhere on the site, deputy editor of Spiked Rob Lyons splutters about this Greenpeace commercial, writing “a reasonable-minded viewer may very well wish such a bleak future on this insufferable brat”, and charging the  adof “fomenting of division between parents and children”:

You won’t be surprised to hear that Lyons denies climate change in the same article and with a flourish of twisted logic concludes “green campaigners demand that we should have a conscience about what we’re doing to the planet – but they don’t seem to have much in the way of a conscience when it comes to scaring adults or manipulating children.” Like the sound of all that? Then you’ll love, also on Spiked: Rob Lyons on Greenpeace’s misanthropic stunts. Ben Pile slamming Greenpeace for putting trees before people and Thomas Deichmann asking just how ‘charitable’ Greenpeace is.

Spike says its funding comes from donations amongst others by “a variety of institutions and companies”.


At last some great news: massive US foods group pledges to take action on obesity

Posted in Marketing, advertising, ethics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by marketingheart

In what appears to be a masssive Corporate Social Responsibility move, a group of the largest US food makers, including General Mills, Nestle, Coca Cola and PepsiCo, have come together to address obesity making a pledge to cut 1.5 trillion of calories from markt availability by the end of 2015.poor child
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
coalition, headed by Kellogg boss David Mackay will achieve the reduction through reformulations and smaller serves. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 80 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods, insurance, trade associations and NGOs

The calorie cuts were announced by Michelle Obama who also unveiled a “task force” that called on food manufacturers to curb the marketing of unhealthy foods to children and in February launched a campaign to encourage US families to eat more healthily and exercise more.

Looks like Mrs Pres has done a great lobbying job. Health campaigners said the coalition’s move seemed “sincere and measurable”. What remains unknown is how effective it will be and so funding has also been provided for an independent evaluation of the extent to which the group’s efforts actually reduce calories in the marketplace.

Nestle and Pepsi will no doubt be mightily relieved that we here at Marketingheart applaud this initiative, but rest assured dear readers, we will be watching it closely for signs of phoniness and will be the first to report any sign of cheap message exploitation and inauthenticity. However 1.5 trillion reasons to be more healthy sounds good to us at this point…now let’s see what happens here in Australia where our obesity problem has apparently caught up with the USA’s.