The National Nutrition Summit, to be held May 30-31 in Washington, D.C., has a far-reaching agenda to battle the so-called “obesity epidemic.” Its plan goes far beyond the USDA’s scheduled release of the “food pyramid” dietary guidelines. The Federal government, in concert with “nanny activists,” is initiating an unprecedented assault on family restaurants and the food they serve.
These meddling nanny organizations, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), have vowed to pressure the federal government to impose mandatory menu warning labels; levy “Twinkie” taxes on high-calorie foods; launch media campaigns to “de-normalize” popular restaurant food; and mandate food and beverage marketing restrictions.
Will the government take them seriously? Ask Dr. Rajen Anand, Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, who oversees the food pyramid program. Speaking of the Summit, he recently opined: “People don’t have the knowledge or willpower to select the right kind of food.”
The nannies’ campaign against restaurants has been so effective that they will actually be moderating several key breakout sessions at the Summit.
Michael Jacobson, CSPI’s executive director, will moderate a panel that will explore lifestyle interventions. He once said “It’s high time the [restaurant] industry begins to bear some responsibility for its contribution to obesity, heart disease and cancer.”
CSPI’s five-year board member Marion Nestle will moderate a Summit panel that will recommend ways to modify the food environment. Nestle seeks federal price controls to make snacks and high-energy foods more expensive and was recently quoted as saying “Supersized foods help create supersized people.”
Yet another CSPI staffer, Margo Wooten, will co-chair a panel that will recommend changes in how the media and advertising influence how people perceive obesity. CSPI has called for a federally sponsored “No TV week” and sweeping bans on advertising for fast food, candy, soft drinks and snacks.
And in the Summit session on “Behavior Change and Lifestyle Improvements,” fat-tax advocate James O. Hill will play prominent role in the discussion of “prototypes for intervention.” Hill told the Associated Press “Americans have too much food available, social situations encouraging overeating, restaurants compete by offering bigger and bigger servings.”
This is hardly an impartial group of discussion facilitators.