Friday, September 5, 2008

Obama And McCain Align With Food And Beverage Industries For Child Obesity Platform

“Although ‘Change!’ is the common cry among today's Democratic and Republican candidates, like the George W. Bush Administration before, both the Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns have aligned themselves with the Food and Beverage Industries for their approaches to America's Child Obesity public health crisis. Children's health advocates National Action Against Obesity (NAAO) and documentary filmmakers for ‘Killer at Large’ challenge the candidates to rise above the influence of lobbyists, special interest groups and deep-pocketed corporations and present an immediate, intervening and comprehensive approach to reversing child obesity. During the historic Democratic Convention in Denver, Barack Obama failed to address child obesity -- arguably the greatest public health threat of our time-- other than to list it as a ‘platform issue’ and have his senior director of domestic policy, Melody Barnes, assert during The Obesity Society forum that restrictions on marketing to children had not been discussed. She also relayed the Obama campaign had not discussed increasing federal funds for advertising healthier lifestyles and food choices for children. Ms. Barnes did say with regard to child obesity that Candidate Obama had a ‘real commitment. ‘The only solutions coming from the government and industries who share culpability in this problem range from the absurd--industry should regulate itself--to the obvious--consumers should simply be exercising more,’ said Bryan Young, Producer of ‘Killer at Large’. ‘When we interviewed him for the film, Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader explained to us that government policy on obesity is held captive by the food industry, who has managed to have former CEOs and lobbyists appointed to positions in government agencies that might have been able to do something about the problem of obesity. Sadly, I don't see any indication that this trend will change regardless of who eventually wins the presidency. If that isn't the case, I'd love to hear a rebuttal from the Obama and McCain camps.’ The McCain camp, with an opportunity to present its Child Obesity platform at the Republican Convention assembling this week in St. Paul, to date has echoed the same suggestion for lax regulations including self-imposed and self-regulated advertising standards for marketing to children. According to the Washington Post, McCain ‘encourages food manufacturers and marketers to create voluntary standards to regulate advertising and marketing towards children as necessary […].” The National Action Against Obesity is working together with the filmmakers on a star-studded, fundraising, New York City premiere of ‘Killer at Large’ on November 21st.”

No comments: