Michael Bloomberg's involvement in the combat against obesity seems limited to his initiatives as Mayor of New York, although their ripple effect go well beyond the city limits. I wonder how long it will take before it also becomes a philanthropic initiative on the model of his Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use?
Since 2006 Michael Bloomberg has invested $595 million ($125 million in 2006, $ 250 million in 2008, $220 million in 2012) in this initiative that was started after the tobacco control program launched in New York City with former Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden ( now CDC's Director since June 2009) replaced by the present Commissioner Thomas Farley.
How could such a Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Obesity take place? The same way the tobacco control program was developed: beyond the New York City's ongoing projects to reduce obesity, many key decision makers and organizations are already joining forces as they did most recently during the National Soda Summit, to request a Surgeon General's Report about the health impact of sugary drinks or to produce The Weight of the Nation documentary.
The tobacco control initiative involves seven main partners: the World Health Organization, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the CDC Foundation, the World Lung Foundation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (that committed $125 million in 2008).
Can you imagine a similar coalition to manage an initiative to reduce obesity?
How long will it take?
Here is an interview with Youfa Wang who heads the Global Center on Childhood Obesity at Johns Hopkins.