Blog: Andy MortonUS anti-obesity groups fight to lose in publicity scramble

Andy Morton | 19 June 2014

Health groups in California this week failed in a bid to force sugary drinks to carry health warnings after the state assembly voted against legislation. 

However, according to US politics website Politico.com, passage of the bill was never the point. What the groups want is publicity and to “(push) out the anti-soda message to a broader and broader audience”, the site said. One member of the American Heart Association even said of the warning label bill: “Part of me hopes it doesn’t pass - and I shouldn’t say this - because I’d love to have the debate over and over again."

The article also says that within health groups there is discussion over the use the word “obesity”, with some claiming that soda company lobbyists win every time it is used. Instead, they say, activists should focus on diseases such as diabetes.

“When I say diabetes, the industry has no idea what to say,” a health group spokesperson said. “This isn’t about calories anymore.”

It has only been 18 months since the Coca-Cola Co started using the obesity word in its adverts, but already those challenging the soft drinks industry over health issues are trying to reframe the debate. 

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