Junk food research

There is a strange illness sweeping the nation. It is a form of insanity called irresponsibility.

A survey of 'parents and grandparents' by Otago University researchers indicated that '95%' of them believe that advertising 'junk food' directed at children should be banned. Why? Because it leads to obesity.

I'd love to see the survey form. If it uses the term 'junk food' I'd suggest that an immediate bias was apparent and the the results are not credible. Of course 95% of people would say they are opposed to feeding children 'junk' food. But what exactly is junk? My opinion is that the term is so loaded that it is impossible to apply without being easily debunked. For example, if you were to have lobster thermador at on of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants (they are peppered across the northern hemisphere) then you would be eating a high cholesterol meal. Depending on the accompanying side dishes and sauces it would probably qualify as junk food. But isn't it 'fine food'. You can see the difficulty without me laboring the point. At some point, in the absence of an objective measure of what is and what isn't 'junk', someone has to make a value judgment about what constitutes 'junk' food. So, even if the researchers didn't use the term in their questioning they would have to extrapolate that what the respondents really meant was 'junk food'.

The truth is that using the emotionally loaded term serves itself and clogs the arteries in the brain that permit reasonable thoughts.

So, having whipped up a quasi-religious fervor around junk food itself the researchers turn their attention to the causes of obesity. Obviously having lathered up the respondents they need to guide them to a conclusion. Is the reason that your children are fat anything to do with you? No, of course not, it is the junk food advertising in television directed to our kids whose access to discretionary spending is so great there is nothing we can do but stand by and watch them bloat to gargantuan proportions - if they get any bigger I will never be able to say no to them! Oh, that's right, I forgot, we don't exert any influence over our kids. TV is the new parent.

You poor, foolish people. You are being duped. You are responsible for your children's wellbeing. Hysterical news items with bad research might make you feel hopeless and not to blame for the choices you make. But the fact is that 'most' New Zealand kids are not obese.

The sky is not falling. But until you take responsibility for the decisions you make you'll have to blame it on the bogeyman. Much easier that way.

And, as for the medical professional who claimed that self regulation has been shown not to work (referring to the advertising industry) he simply reinforced the pompous attitude the medical industry has towards people. How could plebs possibly make good choices for themselves - before you know they'll be asking for a second opinion…

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