Fellow Story

Coleman op-ed exposes how powerful corporations contribute to childhood obesity and asthma

Heather Coleman co-authored an op-ed in the Boston Globe emphasizing how corporations pair marketing with lobbying to remain unregulated. The article states: 

"With 1 in 5 children in the United States now qualifying as obese, recently released recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics highlight the enormous downstream consequences for these children, including increased risks for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health concerns. While the 73-page document discusses the impacts of neighborhood, family and home, and genetics on the risk of childhood obesity, there is little mention of the corporations that have contributed to the surging rates of obesity in our country. Similar to other public health threats, this tracks with a long history of corporations pairing deceptive marketing with powerful lobbying influence to shift the blame and responsibility on consumers, and ensuring that politicians don’t regulate them.

While rising rates of childhood obesity are correlated with many factors, one clear driver is added sugars and fats in processed foods that are cheap and directly marketed to children and families. For example, the American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day; the average serving of chocolate milk contains 24 grams of added sugar, meeting a full day’s limit in a single carton. Yet, owing in part to years of lobbying from dairy industry groups, chocolate milk continues to be on the menu in public schools across the country."

Read the full article here