Posts Tagged ‘fast food’

The Fallacy of Marketing “Healthy Food” to Children

By focusing on marketing, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign won’t save our children’s health

Michelle Obama is probably the most popular first lady in recent memory, with approval ratings embarrassingly higher than her husband’s, at least in 2012. She is the picture of health, speaks openly about the challenges of raising two daughters and feeding them right and uses her platform to call attention to the country’s childhood obesity crisis through her Let’s Move program. And yet, with all this going for her, even she cannot make a serious dent in the problem of how food and media corporations are targeting children with junk-food advertising. Read rest at Al Jazeera America ….

Holding Big Food Accountable for False Claims of Responsible Marketing to Children

by Michele Simon and Cara Wilking

Looking back at 2013, while the food movement made progress in certain areas (such as school food and GMO labeling), when it comes to exploitative food marketing to children meaningful change remains elusive. Let’s Move director and White House chef Sam Kass recently acknowledged the obvious when he said this issue was “really tough” given how much money is at stake for industry.

All we seem to hear from the major food corporations about marketing to children are self-serving promises and announcements of future changes. As public health lawyers, that got us wondering, who’s making sure even these minimal commitments are being kept? The question is worth exploring if we want to actually improve children’s diets—not just create positive PR buzz for Big Food. With reports of adults ever-deteriorating eating habits in 2013 coupled with appalling teen heart health, the health stakes are too high to just wait for the food industry to do the right thing.

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Is a Nutritionism Approach to Marketing to Children the Best We Can Do?

Last week at a childhood obesity conference, I participated in an important panel to discuss what has become a controversial strategy among some advocates for children’s health: calling on industry to market “healthy” food to children.

As Susan Linn and I explained in our recent article, any marketing to children is deceptive and harmful; it doesn’t matter what the product is.

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The Dark Side of Marketing Healthy Food to Children

By Susan Linn and Michele Simon

In response to the public outcry over the negative impacts of junk food marketing to children, food companies have started using popular media characters to market “healthy” foods to children. These products include fruits and vegetables, as well as processed food. So we now have Campbell’s Disney Princess “Healthy Kids” soup, Kellogg’s Scooby-Doo! cereal (with less sugar), and others.

But is this really progress?

The developmental vulnerabilities of children, along with the legal, ethical, and political pitfalls of encouraging the food industry to target kids, make marketing food to children harmful regardless of nutritional content.

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Top 10 Lies Told by McDonald’s CEO at Annual Shareholder’s Meeting

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Last week at McDonald’s annual shareholder’s meeting, CEO Don Thompson got caught off-guard when a team of 15 advocates, led by Corporate Accountability International, descended upon corporate headquarters to question the fast food leader’s relentless exploitation of children and communities of color.

Read rest at Corporate Accountability International ….

How Your City Can Push Back Against Fast Food

Last week, the National League of Cities, which represents over 19,000 cities, villages and towns, hosted its annual meeting in Boston, with one of its three aims to “strengthen neighborhoods and families.” What better way to accomplish that goal than to challenge fast food’s influence in their communities? While a couple of conference sessions featured First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program, missing from the agenda was the role fast food plays in communities. That’s why Corporate Accountability International released a report and action guide earlier this year called “Slowing down fast food: A policy guide for healthier kids and families” – to fill this void. Read rest at Corporate Accountability International…

Guide to Fighting Fast Food in Your Own Back Yard

It’s hard not to get depressed over the politics of food these days, given the massive power of the food industry to influence everything from the farm bill to childhood obesity.

So a new report, Slowing Down Fast Food: A policy guide for healthier kids and families, on how we can fight back couldn’t come at a better time. A joint project of Corporate Accountability International and Dr. Nicholas Freudenberg and Monica Gagnon of The City University of New York, the guide focuses on four local policy approaches: school policy, “healthy” zoning, curbing kid-focused marketing, and redirecting subsidies to healthier businesses. (Full disclosure: I am a consultant for Corporate Accountability.)

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Toying with the Happy Meal: Is McDonald’s evading the law?

While most media outlets dubbed it the “Happy Meal toy ban,” the ordinance passed in San Francisco last year didn’t ban anything. The law just placed a few reasonable nutrition guidelines (a maximum of 600 calories per meal and limits on fat and salt, for example) for restaurants using free toy incentives to lure kids into a lifetime of bad eating habits. In a rare victory for children’s health, the bill passed despite heavy lobbying by McDonald’s. Read rest at Grist…

Why we need MyPolicy instead of MyPlate

Last week, I didn’t really have much to say about the replacement of USDA’s infamous food pyramid with the new plate image, which is why I was happy to cross-post Andy Bellatti’s take, which I obviously agree with. But this week a couple of media outlets asked for my opinion, and it should come as no surprise that I do actually have one, in particular in response to the many other reactions.

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How E. coli became a household word – Poisoned, a book review

For most of us working in food policy, it’s hard to remember a time when food outbreaks of bugs like E. coli didn’t happen pretty much weekly. But reading the new book Poisoned by Jeff Benedict made me realize that bacteria-contaminated hamburgers are a relatively recent phenomenon; a striking reminder of how our food system has gone very, very wrong.

Given that the Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak happened back in 1993, it seems odd that no one has written a book about it before. But it’s just as well, because Benedict’s style is tailor made to the task. His detailed and heart-wrenching story-telling makes the 18-year wait well worthwhile.

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