Brownell and Wagner say it is too early to know how
the food industry will react to issues pertaining to food
“Many scientific issues have yet to be addressed,
and the press, public and elected leaders have not yet
challenged the industry on this matter,” the researchers
say. “But for such a sensitive issue, and one with potentially important legal implications, one can imagine how
threatening even the implication of addiction would be
to the industry, as it was with tobacco.”
AS A DEFENSE AGAINST GOVERNMENT REGULATION,
the food and soft-drink industry, like Big Tobacco, is
pushing for self-regulation. For example, the American
Beverage Association, in association with the Alliance
for a Healthier Generation, announced that it would
reduce sales of traditional carbonated soft drinks in
Similarly, PepsiCo announced “a voluntary policy
to stop sales of full-sugar soft drinks to primary and
secondary schools worldwide by 2012.” According to
PepsiCo, this new policy brings its international actions
in line with what it is already doing in the United States.
But “it keeps vending machines in schools and still
allows for plenty of branded sugary drinks: Gatorade,
juice drinks and sweetened milk, for example,” says
Marion Nestle, a professor in the Department of
Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York
University and author of the popular blog Food Politics.
Since First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let’s
Move initiative aimed at solving the childhood-obesity
epidemic within one generation, the food and beverage industry has launched a public-relations blitz in an
attempt to put on a healthier public face.
For example, Kraft recently announced that it is voluntarily reducing the sodium in its foods by 10 percent
by 2012. “Since 2004, we’ve reformulated about 25 percent of our portfolio in the U.S. to improve the nutrition
profile while maintaining the tastes consumers expect,”
according to a statement released by Kraft.
And a March 9 “Advertising Age” article describes
how soft-drink giants The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and
Dr Pepper Snapple Group have teamed up to run ads
“showing off about how they are removing sugary soft
drinks from schools,” Simon says. The companies claim
an 88 percent decrease in calories since 2004.
Still, health and food-science advocates like Nestle
and Simon are not impressed. “Kraft’s Macaroni &
Cheese [SpongeBob package] has 580 mg of sodium per
serving and there are two servings in one of those small
boxes: 1160 in total,” Nestle says. “A 10 percent reduction will bring it down to 1050 mg within two years.
The upper recommended limit for an adult is 2300 mg
To gain in-depth diversity-management advice,
AMONG U.S. ADULTS
*BMI > 30, OR ABOU T 30 LBS. OVERWEIGH T FOR 5’ 4” PERSON
Source: CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System