Here is another interesting link between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Big Food: the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.
This is typical food industry spin, allowing it to shrug off responsibility while appearing to be “part of the solution”.
Per the organization’s website, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, “a CEO-led organization, is a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity–especially childhood obesity–by 2015. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 235 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) promotes ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance–calories in and calories out. It focuses its efforts on two critical areas—families and schools.”
As is to be expected, HWCF claims it is “fighting obesity by balancing calories in with calories out”. The obesity focus is a Big Food staple. When health is only discussed through a lens of weight, it is easy for the food industry to consider itself part of the dutiful troops, whether it’s with “commitments to physical activity” or reduced-calorie, minimally nutritious and highly processed foods. After all, if the goal is simply to get someone to lose 15 pounds, then a 100-calorie snack pack of Cheetos should “do the trick,” as should a diet soda.
The Academy is listed as one of HWCF’s “associate members”. The corporate members, meanwhile, include Academy Partners ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestlé, and Unilever.
It would certainly be refreshing — and ground-breaking — if the Academy pointed to these sorts of foundations as nothing more than food industry smokescreens, rather than continue to foster the illusion that the food industry is here to save the day.