This bit on Fast Food Restaurants Not Single-Handedly Ending Child Obesity is hysterical. Yes, some fast food restaurants pledged to make “healthier” choices available, and yes, they make some “healthier” choices available. Is it really a surprise that you might have to, gasp, order the milk and apple slices instead of pop and fries?
Hey, here’s another one: Instead of whining about TV ads, why not minimize watching them? Unlike the world of 1984, televisions can be turned off; commercials can be muted, programs can be recorded and commercials fast-forwarded. Teach the kids to help you make dinner or with the dishes — that’s teaching the kid an important life skill AND spending quality time together. Or play a board game or read with the kids or watch a DVD or mute/fast-forward through commercials or, heck, let the kid watch the commercials and tell them “No” if that’s what you’ve decided. I realize it’s radical to pretend you’re the one raising your own kid, but I won’t turn you in, I promise.
(Not that I think that turning off the TV or passing up a Happy Meal will automagically turn a fat kid into a slender one. But it’s a lot easier to start learning to cook or do the dishes or handle “No” or amuse oneself without TV before you’re 25 or 30, so why not do your child a favor and teach them?)
Also in the “this is a surprise?” is that the US Dept of Agriculture is promoting American-made cheese. The Dept of Agriculture was founded with the aim of promoting US agriculture and has maintained multiple roles through its history — it regulates and markets US food, it promotes good nutrition and runs the Forestry Service. It isn’t, in fact it really can’t, be a monolith. Maybe I worked too long in a large (50,000+ employees) company, but it’s reasonable that people in the group that works to market the US dairy industry is not necessarily going to be worried about limiting dairy intake. It’s also reasonable that the people who are worrying about ideal nutrition are in a different group from the ones marketing various types of food. Yes, they have a point that the USDA is talking out of both sides of its mouth with “eat more cheese” and “eat less saturated fat, including less cheese” as messages, but — hello — the USDA didn’t stop subsidizing tobacco production until 2005 (and is still paying tobacco farmers to help them transition to a free market). There is big money encouraging Congress to help market US agriculture, and don’t you forget it.
Now, if the NYT is looking for a scandal, the fact that the Dairy Marketing group continued their “dairy helps you lose weight” campaign despite the research they funded disproving it is a better target, I’d think. Especially since the Federal Trade Commission got involved. Or maybe it’s just that nobody really expects diet ads to have any basis in fact?