Saturday, March 12, 2005

"Big Steps" needed to address obesity

A couple years ago, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson headlined the rollout of a new advertising effort recommending "small steps" to end obesity. This drew some derision from the nutrition community, which was well aware that it would take big steps to make a difference.

A boldly written new book from the National Academies press drives home the latter point. One good thing about the National Academies is that they represent the best mainstream scientific advice the country has to offer. Another good thing is that their press lets you read its books online for free. Here is a passage from the new book by Susan Okie, M.D. called Fed Up:
Major economic forces -- among them food manufacturers, restaurant chains, automobile makers, real estate developers, and the entertainment industry -- have strong financial interests in maintaining various aspects of the status quo. No single one of these industries or sectors deserves the blame for our nation's obesity epidemic, but together, many of their products and services (and the ways they are marketed) have contributed to Americans' unhealthy lifestyle. Each of these groups has political clout that it can bring to bear on government officials to oppose policy changes that are against its own interests. That is one reason why many obesity experts believe it will take determined, well-organized efforts by concerned citizens and advocacy groups to bring about health-promoting change in our communities and our nation.
Those don't sound like small steps to me.

No comments: