Making David and Goliath Seem Well-Matched

by Bettina Elias Siegel on January 3, 2011

Marion Nestle tweeted yesterday about this article from Kelly Brownell, director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which is all about how the food industry encourages overeating.  (You’ll need to scroll down a bit through the newsletter to find his article.)

One topic Brownell addresses is the relentless tide of food marketing aimed at children and how children’s critical faculties are undeveloped and therefore ill-equipped to counter these messages. (I’ve discussed that issue here on TLT as well — see “Nothing Goes Together Like Athletics and  . . . Doritos?”)  But Brownell’s article had a particularly startling fact that jumped out at me and I thought I’d share it here:

The Roberts Wood Johnson Foundation is by far the biggest funder of work on childhood obesity, and it’s now spending $100 million a year on the problem.  The food industry spends that much every year by January 4th to market unhealthy food to children.

[emphasis mine]

Wow.  That really puts the problem in disturbing perspective, doesn’t it?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bri January 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm
Grace @eatdinner January 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Glad you called out this disturbing stat. There’s a Huff Post article on taking childhood obesity seriously today. One way is to realize that fighting the obesity crisis means going up against a ton of corporate money and that banning bake sales is not really the issue. I’d like to encourage food bloggers, public health advocates, lunch reformers, etc to enlist parents to make good choices (without guilt) but to also recognize that the deck is stacked against parents. If there is a “backlash” that associates anti-obesity with “nanny state” that just plays into corporate interests.


bettina elias siegel January 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Grace: Thanks for sharing the link — I’ll look at it now.


Mrs. Q January 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm

That is too wild — no wonder it’s a long, long road!


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