While the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics shies away from criticism of Big Food and Big Soda, other health organizations have been much less fearful.
Yesterday, American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown publicly called for soda companies to stop marketing sugary beverages to children.
- “The American Heart Association has a long history of aggressively pursuing changes in public policy while educating consumers about both health harms and health habits. When the scientific evidence became clear that too much added sugar actually hurts your heart, our organization began to take action to turn around consumption trends.”
- “We gathered experts on the subject of sugar and sugary drinks who came to one conclusion. We have a moral imperative to raise even greater awareness of the physical harms of excess sugar and develop public policy solutions that can directly impact consumption — something the American Heart Association has fully embraced in the work we are doing every day.”
- “Our efforts to have kids grow up eating in a healthy way has already enjoyed success by removing sugary drinks from some “kids’ meals” at a few of the big-name restaurant chains and we continue to support advocates who are working to expand these efforts. We believe that kids’ meals are one of the first entry points for Big Soda to market and influence life-long unhealthy behavior in children — particularly those in low-income areas with more fast-food restaurants than healthy options — which must be stopped.”
- The American Heart Association was proud to stand side-by-side with the people of Berkeley, California, as they became the citizens of the first city in our nation to tax sugary drinks at a penny per ounce. We support Illinois, Vermont, California and communities across the country as they push for levies and warning labels to increase awareness of the harms of excess sugar. We are also supporting Mayor Jim Kenney in Philadelphia to pass a 3 cent per ounce tax.”
- “We have more to do. And so does industry. It’s time for beverage companies to stop marketing sugar-sweetened drinks to children. We also call on celebrities to treasure their conscience and stop selling out to slick junk food and sugary drink marketing campaigns.”
This is what leadership from a health organization looks like. Sadly, it is yet another example of a missed opportunity from AND leadership. Imagine what a powerful and positive statement AND could have made if its current president published a similar open letter.
In the meantime, AND continues to tout its proud partnership with PepsiCo, despite revised sponsorship guidelines which mandate that AND only partner with companies that “optimize health through food and nutrition.”