Healthcare vs. Processed Food Industry
This would be a laughable mismatch if it weren't for the fact that millions of people are suffering and dying as a result of this calculated effort to hook them on food that is not good for them.
Even in the face of these overwhelming odds, healthcare providers should not despair. Just as the processed food industry had borrowed tactics used by Big Tobacco, so too can physicians and other health advocates use the highly successful tactics of the anti-smoking movement to press for change.
Corporations that put profits above the public good respond to two base stimuli: fear and greed. Healthcare providers can hit both of those bliss points by using their collective status as trusted advocates for the public good to clearly blame and aggressively pressure the processed food industry for its role in nation's overweight and obesity epidemic.
Already we are seeing some movement. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for example, has gotten a lot of coverage for his efforts to ban super-sized sugary drinks as a public health menace. His efforts may get derailed in the courts, but the publicity he has generated is worth it. Consciousness has been raised. People are asking questions and that is a good start.
The sad truth is that wellness movements by themselves aren't enough to reverse the obesity and overweight epidemic, no matter how well-intentioned or proactive. They will fail unless we address the larger issue of what people eat. The processed food industry must be held accountable and pressured to modify the addictive junk it peddles to the American people.
Healthcare providers, the people who see first-hand the devastating effects of overweight and obesity, must lead this fight.
John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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