For my third proposal, I will discuss the role of business in aiding the fight against childhood obesity. I focused primarily on the involvement of the food industry, and the role they are taking in this epidemic. I came across this article in OlsonPR, a site reporting on agriculture in modern society, discussing the food industry’s initiatives in fighting this battle. The article is titled, “Childhood Obesity – Food Industry Steps Up”. The article discusses food industry solutions, while simultaneously avoiding the least amount of harm to the industry and jobs. The article was broken up into 5 sections, each section states the involved group and their personal initiatives.
The first section discusses the New Minnesota Coalition Focuses on Obesity Initiative. The Minnesota food industry is forming a coalition to share and publicize their ongoing efforts to combat obesity. The group is being organized by Joan Archer and so far includes 20 major players in the food, beverage, grocery and restaurant business. The Minnesota Agri-Growth Council is a member, too. The next section titled Industry Obesity Initiatives notes that the beverage industry has been working on taking full calorie beverages out of schools since 2006. A new report shows there has been an 88 percent decrease in total calories contained in all beverages shipped to schools. Full-calorie soft drinks have been removed from schools and replaced with a range of lower-calorie, nutritious, smaller portion choices. There has been a shift to waters, sports drinks, diet sodas, milk, teas and 100 percent juices. The third section discusses Product Reformulations, in where food companies have made positive changes to their food manufacturing. The Grocery Manufacturers Association reports that in recent years companies have reduced calories, sugar, fat and sodium in more than 10,000 products. They have also enhanced the nutritional profile of many products with the addition of whole grains, fiber or other nutrients and created the informative and convenient 100-calorie pack. The fourth section summarizes the efforts of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation. Launched this past fall, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) is a partnership between retailers, non-profit organizations, food and beverage manufacturers and trade associations aimed at helping to reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, by 2015. The last section titled Restaurants Increase Healthy Options discusses the actions restaurants have taken to supply nutritious food options.
I found this source on a google search and was impressed with its detail. The source gives positive recognition to the food industry as opposed to other sources that I came across that addressed the negative role of the food industry towards childhood obesity. Such negative sources are listed below:
“Who is to Blame for the U.S. Obesity Epidemic?”
“The Big Debate: Are Food Ads to Blame for Childhood Obesity?”
These sources do present clear and convincing arguments against the food industry, however each source has a clear bias against the companies discussed. When debating the role of the food industry in my paper, I will make sure to look at both the positive and negative role of the food industry to avoid a biased argument.
I pursued further research on the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation discussed in the OlsonPR article. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 200 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out. It focuses its efforts on two critical areas—families and schools. Current members include but are not limited to:
- ConAgra Foods
- General Mills
- George Foreman
The foundation illustrates tangible evidence of the food industry’s efforts to solve the childhood obesity epidemic. The foundation’s two main efforts, families and schools, are the two critical areas that I personally feel have the most influential impact. I will make sure to use the foundation’s website and the initiatives that they have taken when evaluating my own recommendations.