Posts Tagged ‘child nutrition’

Is the Dietitians Association of Australia in the Pocket of Big Food?

New Report from Eat Drink Politics Exposes Conflicts of Interest in Australian Dietitians Group

coverJust as most western nations do, Australia suffers significantly from diet-related chronic diseases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, killing one Australian every 12 minutes. Diabetes is also a serious health concern, with rising rates in recent years, according to the government.

The 2013 report, “And Now a Word from Our Sponsors,” also from Eat Drink Politics, found that the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States has a serious credibility problem due to its myriad conflicts with the junk food industry. Sadly, a very similar situation exists within Australia’s dietetic profession, led by the Dietitians Association of Australia. Among the most troubling findings of the new report from Eat Drink Politics:

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School Food Lobby Flip-flops on Healthy School Lunches

School Nutrition Association includes such Big Food sponsors as PepsiCo, Domino’s and Muffin Town.

Perhaps the most visible advocate for improving school food, Michelle Obama is now defending what shouldn’t be such a controversial idea: adding fruits and vegetables to public school lunches. Ask any nutrition expert what foods Americans — especially kids — need more of in their diet, and the answer would be the same: fresh produce. But some Republicans, such as Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, never seem to miss an opportunity to turn a no-brainer into a political battle, particularly when it comes to school food. (Who can forget the pizza as a vegetable debacle?) And just in time to give them the necessary cover, they got a gift from an unlikely source. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has asked Congress to approve waiver requests for schools that are struggling to comply with federal nutrition regulations aimed at improving children’s health.

Read rest at Al Jazeera America …

Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods

coverThe United States is in the midst of a public health epidemic due to poor diet. While much of the focus has been on obvious culprits such as sugary soft drinks and fast food, dairy foods often get a pass. The dairy industry, propped up by government, has convinced us of the health benefits of milk and other dairy products. But the context of how people consume dairy matters.

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USDA’s Proposal on Food Marketing in Schools Could Harm Children

Today, on behalf of Corporate Accountability International and in collaboration with the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, I submitted the following comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its proposal to require schools to only allow marketing for those foods allowed under the agency’s “Smart Snacks” nutrition guidelines. (See also the excellent comments submitted by Public Health Advocacy Institute on junk food products created for schools.)

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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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Media Coverage for Clowning Around with Charity Report

Clowning_Around_Charity_Report_CoverI am pleased to see so many media outlets take an interest in my recent report, produced in collaboration with Corporate Accountability International and the Small Planet Fund.  Below is a round-up of the coverage so far.

USA Today: McDonald’s slammed over Ronald McDonald House giving. Also published in:

-       Democrat and Chronicle
-       Tucson Citizen
-       THV 11
-       The Indianapolis Star
-       Green Bay Press Gazette
-       Courier-journal.com
-       Livingston Daily
-       Courier Post Online
-       Wausau Daily Herald
-       Wisconsin In a Rapids Tribune
-       Ithaca Journal
-       Lohud.com
-       Press Connects
-       UTNE Alt Wire
-       Daily Tribune
-       Journal News
-       Press & Sun Bulletin
-       The Post-Crescent
-       Fort Myers News-Press

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Clowning Around with Charity: How McDonald’s Exploits Philanthropy and Targets Children

New report from Eat Drink Politics exposes McDonald’s charitable activity as a marketing tool to deflect critics

Clowning_Around_Cartoon_only

Pop quiz: Who do you think funds the hundreds of Ronald McDonald Houses around the nation? McDonald’s right? Sort of, but not really. While McDonald’s gets 100 percent of the brand benefit from Ronald McDonald House Charities, the burger giant only provides about 20 percent of its funding globally. At the local level, it’s closer to ten percent, with some of that money coming from donation boxes at McDonald’s outlets, that is, from customers.

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Super-Sized Lies: Why You Can’t Trust Promises by McDonald’s

Bill Clinton McDonalds

McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, former President Bill Clinton, and Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Dr. Howell Wechsler.

The headlines certainly sounded impressive: “McDonald’s to Scrap Soda From ‘Happy Meal’ Ads” and “McDonald’s Ditches Soda In Happy Meal Menus.” In a grandiose announcement from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (an offshoot of the Clinton Foundation), McDonald’s proved once again that it’s not only the world’s fast-food leader, but also the king of spin. This time, Bill Clinton himself was on hand for the nifty photo op with McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson at the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting. Despite the seal of approval from the (mostly vegan) former president, I’ve learned to approach these sorts promises from McDonald’s with skepticism.

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Save the Food Stamp Program by Reforming It

With each attempt to pass the 2012 farm bill (yes, it has been that long), congressional Republicans keep ratcheting up their cruelty to poor Americans. While last year’s bill would have cut $16 billion to food stamps, the House of Representatives has now proposed an astonishing $39 billion reduction in benefits over 10 years. While many media pundits are outraged, and rightly so, missing from the national conversation are important questions about the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the federal food assistance plan formerly known as food stamps. Read rest at Al Jazeera America …

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