Now on to the more serious links.
Let’s take a close look at the new “Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.” The objective:
The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is a unique partnership between retailers, non-profit organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and trade associations aimed at helping to reduce obesity. The HWCF will promote ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance – balancing calories consumed as part of a healthy diet with calories expended by physical activity – in the places where they spend much of their time: in the marketplace, in the workplace and in schools.
Sounds like a great plan, in theory. Here is what participating companies have agreed to do:
Participating companies are committing to build on existing efforts and will be making changes to their products, packaging and labeling to make it easier for consumers to manage their calorie intake while preserving or enhancing overall nutrition quality. Specific options companies may undertake include product reformulation and innovation; providing smaller portions; redesigning packaging and labeling; placing calorie information on the front of products; providing consumers with information and educational materials; and in-store promotion of the initiative.
However, if you look at the members’ list, it is composed mainly of huge agribusiness-type producers of processed foods. I will be watching closely to see how many of them actually “reformulate” their food products into real food rather than simply taking the easier route and repackaging, relabeling, reportioning. One of the first examples is Coca-Cola planning to put their calorie count on the front of the bottle. Hm. I don’t know a single Coke drinker that will be deterred by this. It makes me wonder how the calories in Coke can be counted as “calories consumed as part of a healthy diet.”
It will be interesting to track, but I fear that this foundation is mostly about fooling the public into believing that these companies care about their health while still convincing them that they need these food products – it is, after all, all about these companies losing money if people realize that their products are NOT part of a healthy diet, right?
Some interesting and disturbing stats at the CDC’s Fruits & Veggies Matter site.
And finally, a controversial study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health mentioned in several places in the UK: “Are working mums’ children fatter?” both at NHS and NetDoctor. I’m not sure the study really reached any conclusions, and I’d have to say that working mothers have enough trouble without being blamed for their children’s obesity problems…. Or maybe I’m just sensitive, being on the verge of returning to PT work myself?