Should the Government Slap Tobacco-Style Regulations on Fatty Foods?

Two international organizations say that heavier regulations on the food industry are needed to stop the obesity epidemic.

LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 09: Pimento cheeseburgers and a white Russian milkshake are served at the BLT Burger booth at Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appetit's Grand Tasting event at Caesars Palace on May 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
National Journal
Clara Ritger
May 19, 2014, 12:13 p.m.

If the gov­ern­ment wants to make pro­gress in lower­ing obesity rates, it needs to start reg­u­lat­ing fatty foods much the way it does to­bacco.

That’s the re­com­mend­a­tion from a pair of in­ter­na­tion­al health or­gan­iz­a­tions push­ing policies it says would an­swer the obesity epi­dem­ic.

Spe­cific­ally, the groups re­com­mend that the gov­ern­ment con­trol the way the food and bever­age in­dustry ad­vert­ises, to en­sure com­pan­ies aren’t im­ply­ing un­healthy food is good for chil­dren and adults. Ad­di­tion­ally, they ad­vise gov­ern­ments to re­quire state­ments on food pack­aging about how high or low the con­tent of salt, sat­ur­ated fat, and sug­ar is in re­la­tion to di­et­ary guidelines. On a broad­er scale, the or­gan­iz­a­tions call for a re­versal of food policy, call­ing on taxes for un­healthy foods and sub­sidies for healthy ones.

Con­sumers In­ter­na­tion­al and World Obesity Fed­er­a­tion are present­ing the glob­al frame­work this week to the World Health As­sembly in Geneva, Switzer­land.

Ul­ti­mately, the groups say gov­ern­ments should re­move ar­ti­fi­cial trans fats from all food with­in five years of their guidelines be­ing ad­op­ted.

Much of the policy would face a dif­fi­cult, if not im­possible, path to pas­sage in the U.S. Con­gress, but the groups did have one sug­ges­tion that is already be­ing put in­to place. The groups re­com­mend that res­taur­ants be re­quired to post cal­or­ie in­form­a­tion about their food — a re­quire­ment already be­ing im­ple­men­ted in the U.S. as part of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Glob­al deaths re­lated to obesity have ris­en from 2.6 mil­lion in 2005 to 3.4 mil­lion in 2010, ac­cord­ing to the or­gan­iz­a­tions.

More than 1.4 bil­lion adults are over­weight and at risk of neg­at­ive health con­sequences, such as car­di­ovas­cu­lar dis­ease, dia­betes, and can­cer, ac­cord­ing to 2008 stat­ist­ics from the World Health Or­gan­iz­a­tion.

What We're Following See More »
FORMERLY THE DEPT’S TOP ATTORNEY
Transportation Sec. Names Special Adviser for Metro System
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has appointed a veteran legal insider with strong personal ties to the Obama administration to serve as his special adviser focused exclusively on fixing the Washington region’s troubled Metro system. Kathryn Thomson, who was expected to leave her job as the Department of Transportation’s top lawyer, instead will stay on as Foxx’s special adviser on Metro oversight." She'll start this week.

Source:
DEATH PENALTY CASE
SCOTUS Finds Racial Bias in Jury Selection
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that prosecutors in Georgia violated the Constitution by striking every black prospective juror in a death penalty case against a black defendant. The vote was 7 to 1, with Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting. The case, Foster v. Chatman, No. 14-8349, arose from the 1987 trial of Timothy T. Foster, an African-American facing the death penalty for killing Queen Madge White, an elderly white woman, when he was 18."

Source:
RETRACTED FUNDING
Congressional Report Says NFL Tried To Influence Concussion Study
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

report from House Democrats charges that NFL officials retracted funding for a $16 million NIH study on head injuries after repeated unsuccessful attempts to direct the money away from a Boston University researcher and instead to scientists who might be more favorable to the league. Democrats have been trying to go after the NFL over its handling of concussion science, although the sport's popularity and increased lobbying presence has made that difficult. The new revelations about meddling in the NIH study should offer more ammo. 

Source:
LETS LOWER COURT RULING STAND
SCOTUS Denies Appeal from Virginia GOP
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A unanimous Supreme Court has dismissed a Republican appeal over congressional districts in Virginia. The justices on Monday left in place a decision by a lower court that said Virginia illegally packed black voters into one district to make adjacent districts safer for Republican incumbents." The Court said the Republican elected officials who challenged the decision did not have standing to do so.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Much Has Trump Loaned His Campaign?
16 hours ago
THE ANSWER

"More than $43 million, although the loans are loans in name only — Trump says he has no intention of recouping the cash."

Source:
×