Wednesday, 5 March 2008


More nanny tactics from the UK. Dairy foods will now carry shocking warnings similar to tobacco warnings. And to think that some didn’t believe that the smoking campaign would set a precedent! How far will this go and how long before public opinion becomes so far corrupted that we would find demonizing the obese perfectly normal? How long before instead of a smoker, this sign

portrays an obese person getting punched? It all depends on how active citizens become in the battle against health nannies and interest group agendas. We have now moved from the anti-tobacco campaign, to the ‘’unhealthy’’ eating habits campaign at a record speed. There are concrete actions happening on banning all ads aimed at children, on getting rid of the happy meal, on taxing junk food, on parents losing custody of their obese children, on making restaurants inaccessible to the obese, on mandatory monitoring of children’s mass index , on refusing to operate on the obese.

And who once again stands out in this anti-obesity hype? None other than the pharmaceutical industry directly, or through their charitable front groups. Let’s take a look at a few sources highlighting the involvement of Big Pharma in this issue.

From Sandy Swarcz’ blog: Sponsors of the obesity crisis , Cradle-to-grave customers

Who funds the Canadian Obesity Network? Following are their industry funders as listed on their website:
Abbott Laboratories Ltd.
Boehringer Ingelheim Ltd.
Glycemic Index Laboratories Inc.
Innovus Research Inc.
Isotechnika Diagnostics
Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Division
JSS Medical Research
Eli Lilly

Medtronics Inc.
Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.
New Era Nutrition


Novartis Pharmaceuticals


TM Bioscience
University Technologies International

For $ 3598.00 for a single user license you can buy a book titled: Anti-Obesity Treatments 2007 to 2012 A blockbuster target market , written as a guide to the pharmaceutical industry and the golden opportunity that the obesity alleged ‘’epidemic’’ presents to them. Take a look at the contents here.

It leaves no doubt that anti-obesity is big business and the stakeholders will do anything and everything in their power to make obesity as unacceptable as smoking in order to force people to use their drugs, unless of course they’re stopped before they go too far. How can they be stopped? Politicians should be made to feel the heat from concerned citizens, by writing or phoning them regularly. Obese people should not bow their head in shame but stand proud of their bodies and warn the government that their body is personal property and government should keep out of their lives. That universal healthcare means that everyone should be covered and segregation of illnesses deserving of treatment, will not be tolerated. That children are under their parents’ authority and unless there is undisputable proof that parents are hurting their offspring, government has to get out of the family dynamics and stay out. Citizens who want to lose weight should find natural methods and not give in to the miracle pill solution who have been proven useless unless real will power is accompanying them.

Citizens should learn from the anti-smoking campaign and fight this anti-obesity offensive with all their energy. It will not go away unless we all get involved to make it go away.

Dairy products to carry cigarette-style health warnings as Government uses 'shock tactics'

Popular dairy foods like cheese and butter could soon have to carry cigarette-style warnings in a bid to slash Britain's soaring levels of obesity and heart disease, according to reports.

The hard-hitting government health warnings would be aimed at urging people to cut down on the amount of saturated fat they eat and make their favourite dairy products an occasional treat rather than regular part of their everyday diet.

According to trade magazine The Grocer, the government's Food Standards Agency is considering using shock tactics to persuade Britons to cut down on their consumption of saturated fats.

But the controversial crackdown is set to spark a furious outcry from the dairy industry as it could target a range of regular snack staples such as cheese sandwiches and buttered toast which watchdogs warn are high in saturated fats.

The Grocer says that the food watchdog is also considering asking manufacturers of products high in saturated fat, such as cheese and butter, to put cigarette-style warnings on packs which would urge consumers to eat such products in moderation or as a rare treat.

The move would form part of a publicity campaign developed under the FSA's strategy to cut consumption of fat, says The Grocer.

A consumer study conducted for the agency by CMI Research found that an approach based on shock tactics was considered "successful in challenging complacent attitudes and preconceptions of saturated fat".

It added: "'Shock tactics' show potential to cut through the crowded media environment, are likely to be memorable and could potentially have talk value."

The researchers said that graphic images of fat - the kind shown on popular TV shows about food and health - had a big impact on the consumers they spoke to.

"Dramatising the amount of saturated fat in foods in an unexpected and unappetising way proved effective, as almost all were repulsed by the idea of eating lard " said the researchers.
"Furthermore, it created a strong emotional response via the shocking visual images and so acted as a wake-up call to many."

The FSA which presented the findings to industry stakeholders last week, insisted any plans for a campaign were at "an early stage".

"Any activity in this area is not due until 2009, " an agency spokesman told The Grocer.
"As part of its planning process the FSA is likely to undertake further research and discussions with a wide pool of stakeholders to explore how best to proceed.

"At this stage it is too early to speculate about the form such activity may take."

However, The Grocer says that it is understood the agency is about to test messages designed to reveal that everyday foods - primarily meat, dairy, snacks and confectionery - are much higher in saturated fats than people may realise.

These include the claim that two slices of buttered toast contain more saturated fat than four doughnuts, and that one cheese sandwich contains more than half an individual's guideline daily amounts of saturated fat.

The FSA is also to consider messages that illustrate the damaging effect saturated fat can have on the body.

But reports that the FSA is contemplating such a high-profile approach has caused consternation among supplies of dairy products likely to be targeted amid fears that their sales would be hit.
Ed Komorowski technical director of Dairy UK said there was a danger that simple messages could switch people away from balanced diets that included healthy food such as cheese, which is high in calcium.

He told The Grocer: "Tactics designed to shock people could actually mislead them. Comparing the saturated fat content of hot buttered toast with doughnuts is not giving the full picture of the nutritional qualities of these products."

He also warned that such an advertising campaign could fall foul of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Clare Cheney director general of the Provision Trade Federation told The Grocer: "Diet is a complex thing. It's not like cigarettes, where you either smoke or you don't and if you do it's bad for you.

"With diet, it's about eating a combination of different things in different quantities."

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