Should Healthy Foods Be Marketed to Kids?

In my last post I talked about the need to ban junk food advertising to children. I pointed out the weakness of a recent report from the U.S. from Healthy Eating Research (HER) and suggested that the rest of Canada look to Quebec where all advertising to kids has been banned for several decades. Quebec legislation and its enforcement are not without complications. But it is a strong stand by the law against an unethical practice.

Within days of that post several bloggers commented on another initiative that, again, raises issues respecting marketing to children but from a different angle.

The U.S. Is No Model on Marketing Food to Kids

Recently Healthy Eating Research (HER), in the U.S., released a report on food marketing to kids, an issues brief with recommendations, and an infographic summarizing the report's main points. HER is influential. It's sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a major source of funding for health research in the United States.

But its recommendations are disappointing. They've been slammed by health researchers, including Marion Nestle, the prominent commentator on the politics of food. The report does little except tweak the U.S. food industry's voluntary guidelines regarding marketing to children.

Should We Reward People for Healthy Living?

A recent New York Times article documented a study in which people were paid by their Fortune 500 employer $10 a visit to workout at a gym for a four week period. Not only did many employees respond to the incentive but a significant portion of them continued to work out regularly for some period after the four weeks of $10 rewards ended. 

That study is only one of many in which both governments and corporations are using various kinds of inducements to encourage individuals to make good decisions for their health and other purposes. Freedom of choice remains with the individual. But certain options, judged to be good ones, are promoted in concrete ways.

To Make Canadians Healthier We Need the Law

A recent study in 43 countries concluded that children in schools where tobacco-free policies were firmly enforced were much less likely to smoke.

However, anti-smoking lessons in classrooms had little impact on smoking rates. Not a surprise. Educational campaigns seeking to change people's behaviour regarding consumption are notoriously unsuccessful, by themselves, whether in terms of tobacco, alcohol, gambling, drugs, or non-nutritious eating.

There Is More to Obesity Than 'Calories In, Calories Out'

I've written a couple of times about the complex causes of obesity. One prominent factor is too much food (especially junk) and too little exercise: excessive calories taken in and too few of them burned up. Sitting around watching television or the computer screen and eating too many munchies and folks get big. The risk can arise early. A major study in the U.S., published this year, established that a third of children who are overweight in kindergarten are obese by grade eight. And almost every child who is obese stays that way into adulthood.

At the same time there is more to obesity than "calories in/calories out".

What She Said - Do you Judge on #Merits or #Measurements? Bill Bogart on #Bias & The #Law

Obese people, perhaps especially women, face a lot of discrimination. A question that is increasingly asked is whether they should be legally protected from acts of prejudice. Shouldn't people who are obese be judged on their merits with regard to jobs, education, health care etc. and not on their size?

Many societies, including our own, do protect a number of vulnerable groups from bias, mainly through various kinds of human rights legislation, on the basis of such grounds as race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation and disability. 
Enter the Court of Justice of the European Union. It ruled in December that obese people can be considered disabled and, therefore, protected under specific circumstances. Do you agree?

The Danger of Calling Obesity a Disability

Obese people, perhaps especially women, face a lot of discrimination. A question that is increasingly asked is whether they should be legally protected from acts of prejudice. Shouldn't people who are obese be judged on their merits with regard to jobs, education, health care etc. and not on their size?

Can Pollution Cause Obesity?

In an earlier post I wrote about the complex causes of obesity. Too much food (especially junk) and too little exercise have an obvious role: too many calories taken in and too few calories expended out. ig portions, lots of sugar and fat, and bodies sitting around watching television or the computer screen all play a part in people getting to XXL. And the risk starts from the beginning.