This article, on how Big Food corporations watered down Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, serves as a great parallel to how these same companies water down the messaging of health organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:
“But a little over a year later, Mrs. Obama backed away from this hard truth and redirected “Let’s Move” to focus on exercise and personal fitness — a position favored by processed food companies to divert scrutiny of their products.
The new “Let’s Move” also emphasized new corporate partnerships with chains like Walmart, which agreed to open over a thousand new stores in so-called urban “food deserts” and pledged to reduce salt, sugar and fat content in their products over five years.
While self-regulating companies can make a big difference, their standards tend to be far more lenient than federal regulations. In 2011, a federal task force drafted voluntary guidelines for marketing food to children only to see them killed by a lobbying blitz by Walt Disney, Nestlé, Kellogg and General Mills — all companies involved in Let’s Move partnerships. Meanwhile, “Let’s Move” stayed silent on the proposed standards, despite Mrs. Obama’s earlier condemnation of junk food advertising.”
This is precisely why Dietitians for Professional Integrity believes that sitting at the table with the food industry (whether you’re the Academy, the First Lady, or a non-profit health organization) simply ties your hands behind your back and leaves you hostage to Big Food’s whims.
We would love for the Academy to publicly decry the predatory marketing (especially to children) that many of its sponsors partake in; but, of course, can we really expect an organization to bite the hand that feeds it?