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Is the food industry putting profit before America's health?

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2014-06-09 08:24

Obesity associated with poor nutrition has been a growing health problem across the United States and worldwide. It appears that in spite of the growing awareness of this serious health problem far too many people are continuing to eat unhealthy junk food while leading sedentary lifestyles. Overall it appears the food industry is making this problem worse due to a focus on profits before health.

Food companies generally do not prioritize healthy communities over healthy profit margins

It has been observed that corporations generally do not prioritize healthy communities over healthy profit margins even though their profits are dependent on community acceptance reported the journal Social Currents. In their efforts to be viewed as legitimate citizens, some corporations use the rhetorical tactics which are typically associated with social movement organizations in order to frame their profit-maximizing practices as appearing to be a solution to the serious problem of obesity.

Via an apparent partnership with interests which focus on healthier communities food companies claim they are in the forefront of fighting obesity. Yet, the bottom line is the primary focus is aimed at having the public buy their products. Psychological marketing tactics may make it appear a primary concern for health is the bottom line when in fact profits are the bottom line vital interest which drives these firms.

When people eat less profits go down

Consider that efforts aimed at combating obesity may pose a threat to businesses that produce and sell food reports The George Washington University. Their bottom line profits are more important to them. When people eat less profits will go down. However, the food industry paradoxically can not afford to appear to be nonresponsive to the public health crisis of obesity. A study by a George Washington University professor shows these firms employ several tactics to maintain legitimacy while positioning themselves as a vital part of the solution for the obesity problem while also protecting profits.

Ivy Ken, associate professor of sociology, says food firms have been framing a conceptualization by consumers of obesity as an issue dealing with the choices which people are making instead of the choices they are being offered. The companies promote the idea that the solution is for the public to purchase their other products, which they have voluntarily agreed to offer in addition to continuing to offer their full-sugar, full-fat options.

Ken studied food companies which are affiliated with two the nonprofit organizations:

1: The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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Comments

I think this is an important issue - yet people will tell the government to stay out of it and they want to make their own choices. It's a merry-go-round. The best option it seems to me is constant public health messages vs government regulation of sugar or taxing junk food or other.

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