CSPI Responds to FDA Obesity Report

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

March 12, 2004

When it comes to obesity, we need not the small steps the Bush Administration has proposed, but major actions. We should be getting junk food out of schools in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables. Requiring (not just recommending) calorie counts on fast-food menu boards. Protecting kids from unscrupulous junk-food marketers. Funding real, hard-hitting education campaigns and not public service announcements that will hardly ever air. If we need money to do these things, a penny-a-can tax on soda could raise over a billion dollars a year.

Some of the proposals in today’s report are perfectly sensible. We should place more emphasis on calories on food labels, and we certainly should list calories for the entire package when a package (such as a 20-ounce coke) is marketed as a single serving.

However, overall, the Administration is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Obesity is on the verge of claiming more lives than tobacco. Relying on junk-food marketers’ self-policing is naive and one of the things that helped Americans waddle into the obesity epidemic in the first place.


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