Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Fast Food Furor

In yesterday's NY Daily News columnist Errol Louis commented about the correlation between obesity and fast food. His "girth of a nation" commentary focuses on a counterattack launched by fast food industry reps against the folks, such as Eric Schlosser of "Fast Food Nation" fame, who have singled them out as prime obesity epidemic suspects.

It turns out that Schlosser is quite the threat since 19 various fast food organizations have started a PR blitz just to "counter the efforts of Eric Schlosser..." We're definitely jealous but the larger point remains: fast food does play a role in the entire obesity crisis and the industry isn't going to escape being targeted by simply spinning tales of fat foods' role in generating good health.

EL also highlights Schlosser's new book, "Chew on This." What the author is pointing out in all of his work is the sheer inescapability of fast food, from the 20,000 junk food ads a year that the average child watches, to the 19,000 schools across the country that sell the stuff in the cafeteria.

The industry response? Why, of course, set up a web set with the beacon of honesty title Its message? "Obesity is a complex and serious problem that is best addressed by living a balanced lifestyle, making good nutritional choices and getting plenty of exercise." Whenever someone attacked uses the word "complex" it usually means that their trying to say that the problem under scrutiny is really not their fault.

As we have said before, however, the industry is part of the problem. If "making good nutritional choices" is a key variable here than the industry can't sit back and let others take the lead. It needs to devote some of its considerable resources to the solution and not to defensive hectoring.