Friday, May 4, 2012

War On Smoking Offers Some Lessons For Obesity Fight

From this interesting article by Judith Graham of Kaiser Health News, published on May 4th in USA Today. There is a clear difference between those who are ready to confront the industry and those who prefer to try to work with the industry.The confrontational advocates need to organize the same way the tobacco control advocates did, including coalitions like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Interestingly the titles of Judith's article differ in USA Today and KHN. I also notice that while she used the term war for tobacco, she used fight for obesity. There is a significant difference between a war and a fight and that's where the obesity control movement is: they have to progress from a fight (or a series of fights) to a war. As for USA today their title is much more diluted:
"Obesity fight needs ambitious campaign, health leaders say". This is much less than calling (and organizing) for a war.
Stan Glantz's assessment is key:

"When I look at what’s going on with obesity, it reminds me of what was going on with tobacco in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, when there was a lot of emphasis on personal responsibility, voluntary self-regulation, and trying to make safe cigarettes," said Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
That approach didn’t work, and efforts to reduce smoking didn’t really have much success until advocates shifted their emphasis from changing individual behavior to community-based activism and holding cigarette manufacturers accountable for harmful products, Glantz said.
A similar shift is needed today in the fight against America’s expanding waistlines, many experts believe. Instead of approaching obesity as a personal issue, it needs to be redefined as a community challenge that calls for collective action and wide-ranging policy changes such as more informative food labels, limits on marketing to children, and taxes on unhealthy products, they argue.

No comments:

Post a Comment