January 29, 2004

Bush, Burgers And Fries (Or: Who Gives A HHS About The WHO?)

Is Bush “pulling a Kyoto” on the World Health Organization?

The Administration, through the Wealth and Inhumane Services Department (oops, we meant theHealth and Human Services Department), has elected to oppose a world-wide effort to fight childhood obesity.

The WHO is in the final stages of preparing an initiative called the “Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health” for presentation to the May 2004 World Health Assembly. The goal of the program is an international effort to limit junk food advertising; provide for more comprehensive food labeling; promote healthier diets; and, particularly, to insure healthier meals are served in schools.

In his role as a front man for Big Oil, Big Media, Big Drugs and Big Insurance, it’s no surprise that President Bush has, once again, lined-up in opposition to an international accord. This time, he’s serving as running boy for Big Food.

One way Bush is trying to derail the WHO initiative is by challenging established research. Employing his special brand of “vigilante scientists,” Bush’s people at the HHS now claim no correlation can be made between junk food and obesity. Sinking further into science fantasy land, the HHS is even questioning the link between fruit and vegetable consumption, and the decreased risk of obesity and diabetes.

In an article at Alternet, Jonathan Rowe and Gary Ruskin (Executive Director of Commercial Alert) sketch out the Administration’s fat charade.

Regarding the money trail, the article calls out a few key Bush fundraisers, including financier Henry Kravis, who has a huge investment in pumping junk food advertising into classroom through the Channel One TV network. Also mentioned are Safeway CEO Steven Burd, who is currently spearheading the vicious war with striking grocery store unions to strip them of their health benefits. Sugar king, Jose Fanjul, is also recognized. Rowe and Ruskin point out the sugar industry is heavily mobilize, given the WHO’s attempt to reduce free sugar to less than 10% of total daily calories.

In the highly profitable business of waging war, the President sees fruits and vegetables as natural enemies. In defense of the corporate status quo, nothing unprocessed or unsweetened can be spared. After all, there is a nation of couch potatoes to protect.


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Michael Shaw
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