Posted by: David Kiley on January 24, 2005
According to Advertising Age executive editor Jonah Bloom, weighing in today with his two cents on the media’s coverage of the obesity epidemic, “…concerns over the validity of the data ought, at least, to temper the media, much of which has taken an uncritical, sensationalist approach to this epidemic.” He further says, “Reports have tended to eschew the complexities of this argument — such as the woes of a society in which people take no personal responsibility — and instead blame food companies. This despite the fact we don’t know why people might have become fatter.”
I love it when people who have considered the obesity problem in the U.S. and globally for about five minutes, and have a public platform, decide to write the “If people would only eat less and exercise more, we wouldn’t have this problem” perspective.
Bloom’s commentary cites a few scientists saying there are some faulty statistics, and criticizes the government standards for defining obesity. But nowhere in Bloom’s column does he mention the heart of the problem—children. As I have written, kids are being conditioned from birth in the U.S. to demand unhealthy, non-nutritional food. Food companies use the very cartoon characters kids are most attracted to to sell the junk. Without the power of their own pocketbook, they react to stimulus embedded in TV, videos, DVDs and the like by turning their juiced up desires into demands, often accompanied by tantrums and resentment. More than ever, the parent-child relationship is defined by parents just trying to counterweight the influence of Mr. Bloom’s constituency—advertisers and advertising agencies pushing unhealthy food. Next time you have two-cents to spare, buy a piece of Bazooka, or trot this over-simplified, intellectually lazy crud out on Sean Hannity’s TV show.