Profs Smell Smoke in Food Marketing to Kids

Governments should learn a lesson from tobacco marketeers and restrict junk food advertising aimed at children, says a prominent obesity specialist. Boyd Swinburn, professor of population health at Deakin University in Australia, was one of several members of a global task force on obesity who called for international standards on advertising food products to children. "If you put a child in a sweet shop and say 'Choose not to consume that', it's an almost impossible responsibility," said Neville Rigby, director of policy and public affairs for the London-based International Obesity task force. (Companies like Altria have historically launched joint efforts to combat criticism of tobacco and food industry policies.) Papers and talks presented at the International Congress on Obesity in Australia were promptly attacked by snack food and restaurant industry advocates. Food industry PR flacks allege that at least one obesity task force member is underwritten by pharmaceutical companies seeking to market antiobesity medications. Many conference participants are calling on the UN's World Health Organization to promulgate uniform restrictions on food marketing to children.


It is not just food industry who has made the connection between
sponsorship of this bogus conference and the antiobesity hysteria
they are promoting! Their own sponsorship page lists all the diet
and pharmaceutical companies that are involved. They may have a few
experts who are truly concerned with junk food, but that whole angle
can also be a front to provide them credibility! One of their main purposes is to keep the public obsessed with weight and keep their cash registers ringing at all cost. Because God knows, things like global warming and the decline of democracy might provide a temporary distraction from our scales.

I would like to add that neither myself, nor my fellow size acceptance advocates are getting paid by anyone, and I have the disasterous financial records to prove it. But I have to say, I am so disgusted by liberals, muckrakers, and progressives giving the diet industry and pharmaceuticals a free ride in all this antifat hysteria, it makes me want to sign up with the food companies to get the other side of the story out. Obviously, fat hatred serves such a function in our society, even do gooders can't be counted on for fairness.

p.s. If this damn conference really cared about childhood obesity, they would tell women to stop dieting. Because some studies have shown dieting, even before pregnancy can increase the risk of a low birthweight child who has a greater risk of both obesity and heart disease later in life. And the sponsors of this conference are the very same who promote diets.

"Weight obsession is a social disease. If we cared more about CO2 than BMI there might still be time."

Sherie S. makes a good point: readers should have a look at the sponsorship list of the International Congress. That said, the speakers' conflicts or potential conflicts of interest would seem to count most in this case, so we noted and linked the conference's main critic, the Center for Consumer Freedom (though CCF does not disclose its own list of donors). We are not aware of such conflicts by the referenced speakers, but that's what this comment section is for.