Public Health nannies, too, bloom in the Spring. April is “Alcohol Awareness Month” and the upcoming April 4-6 weekend is “Alcohol Free Weekend.” From April 7th to the 13th, busybodies everywhere will celebrate “National Public Health Week,” whose theme this year is “overweight and obesity.”
These campaigns eagerly blame industry for the nation’s public-health problems, and recycle well-debunked myths (remember the 300,000 deaths supposedly caused by obesity each year, and claims that the majority of alcohol profits come from youth and excessive drinking?). Amusingly, each proclaims its adopted health problem as the nation’s biggest.
The public-health-for-dummies test for extremism is whether the über-food-cops at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are involved. All the “fact sheets” for National Public Health Week come from the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA), which is a CSPI front group. And the fact sheets list Margo Wootan, CSPI’s chief nutritionist, as the contact person. At the same time, CSPI’s anti-alcohol program receives a place of honor on Alcohol Awareness Month’s website, and the sample op-ed arguing for increased liquor taxes comes straight from CSPI’s playbook.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), America’s largest foundation dedicated to policing your food and drink choices, supports both Alcohol Awareness Month and National Public Health Week. The Honorary Chair for Alcohol Awareness Month 2003 is an organization called Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, which is primarily funded by the RWJF. And the RWJF is sponsoring National Public Health Week this year. The RWJF’s involvement in National Public Health Week is so great that its president ended up on the press release.
So get ready for a CSPI-inspired, RWJF-funded month of nannying.