yesterday attacked fast food manufacturers who are "emotionally
blackmailing" children via advertising campaigns and sponsorship
deals targeted at schools.
were made for a guaranteed 90 minutes of exercise per week in schools to
combat the firms' attempts at encouraging children to eat unhealthy food -
often to gain new equipment for schools.
a background of rising obesity among young people, a particular problem in
, delegates at the NUT annual conference in
said children had to be warned of the motives behind advertising aimed at
Pepsi and chocolate giant Cadbury were among the companies that came under
has linked up with the Youth Sport Trust, investing £8m in Get
Active, a scheme aimed at persuading children to take more exercise,
sparking criticism from the British Dietetic Association for the
"mixed messages" sent to young people about foods that were high
in fat and sugar.
cause-related marketing by food manufacturers, such as the Walkers' crisps
"Free Books for Schools" scheme, has led health campaigners and
nutritionists to claim they were trying to make high sugar, high fat foods
appear healthier than they are.
comments from the NUT come just a day after research showed a third of
children in Wales eat takeaway food a few times a week and 44% eat ready
meals several times a week.
Lewis, secretary of NUT Cymru, said the growing links between companies
and schools was a worrying trend.
issue affects all schools, especially in
, where because of the under-funding, they are becoming more and more
dependent on sponsorship or help from commercial companies," he said.
of course these firms are only interested in increasing their profits.
a sort of emotional blackmail when parents and children are receiving a
message that they should eat junk food or buy certain fizzy drinks to get
extra computers or books for their schools."
added, "Such companies used to provide extras for schools, now they
are providing essential equipment."
Sheppard, director of Fitness Wales, said, "I think such schemes are
a difficult ethical issue for schools.
these firms are offering schools money or incentives it's easy to be drawn
down that route.
may think they can balance out the ill-health effects with the improved
child obesity and diabetes are growing problems, and if poor eating habits
are combined with not enough exercise, there is evidence this can lead to
conditions like osteoporosis in the future."
a guaranteed amount of exercise during the school week would be a huge
to the Cadbury scheme, Chris Wilkin, a delegate from
, said, "It is outrageous that in a supposedly advanced,
industrialised society that essential resources for schools have to be
acquired in this way.
must break marketing links between schools and private companies.
must provide information to enable parents and pupils to make better
Cadbury spokesperson said, "We are disappointed by the NUT's
reaction, we think they have misunderstand the nature of our initiative.
is a long-term project to address the very serious issue of childhood
inactivity and is recognised by educationalists, nutritionists and experts
right across the field.
have deliberately made the redemption level low so that you can collect
equipment with as little as 10 vouchers, and the sports equipment has been
designed by the respected Youth Sport Trust."
taste left by sugar industry's attack on the WHO
Wednesday April 23, 2003
Few readers will have been surprised at the
vehement opposition from part of the food industry to the World Health Organisation's proposed new guidelines on healthy eating (Sugar industry
threatens to scupper WHO, April 21). What is shocking about the attack is
the timing. The world is facing the threat of a completely new infectious
disease, caused by a previously unknown virus, which has already been
transported outside its continent of origin. The WHO is performing a
crucial role in coordinating the world's medical and scientific efforts to
understand, contain and control this new disease.
This effort has been astonishingly successful;
through the cooperation of many laboratories, the causative virus has been
definitively identi fied, its genome completely sequenced and laboratory
tests developed. All this information is publically available and all
within a few weeks of recognition of this new disease. The WHO deserves
our thanks and our support, rather than attacks on its funding from an
industry that not only puts its profits ahead of the health of its
customers, but which seems indifferent to damaging our capacity to respond
to potentially catastrophic global health threats.
· The sugar industry takes a page from the tobacco industry in its
bullying tactics to suppress full, accurate and vital information to
consumers to protect its bottom line. Not surprisingly, we see Kraft
Foods, a tobacco subsidiary, involved. Too bad the World Sugar
Organisation hasn't learned tobacco's lessons on liability for when obese
diabetics around the world start suing. So far, the tobacco industry's
most successful line of defence has been that people were warned about the
health hazards. (Its Achilles' heel has been its failure to warn of how
addictive it is.)
· Ironically the disinformation campaign is led by the
"fatness industry" in the country with the world's greatest
obesity problems. At least I can cut my own direct sugar usage and, helped
by improved food labeling, avoid processed food and drink with high sugar
content. As ever, it is the ignorant and poor who will suffer from the
sugar industry's rapacity.
· The US sugar industry does not want a drop in its sales. The WHO
wants everybody to eat less sugar for a healthier diet. The
also has an insatiable thirst for fuel - we have just had a war in
, in part, to secure fossil fuels. The answer seems simple. Convert the
sugar into fuel, by methods already being used in other parts of the
world. Fossil fuels will then last longer; the
diet will improve; the sugar industry will stay in full production.
Everybody should be happy.