Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Denver Post: Colorado's "Smart Meals" Plan Holds the Smart

You may be familiar with the term "greenwashing," whereby companies make superficial (or just PR-based) changes to make their environmentally unsound practices look green. I think we may need to add a new term to our lexicon to describe something else that's becoming more and more common -- maybe "healthwashing"?

I read yesterday about how Pepsi is teaming with Yale Medicine to open a lab devoted to nutritional research, specifically diabetes and obesity. Now, please forgive my cynicism. In theory, a large, multi-national, multi-billion (trillion?) dollar corporation funding nutrition research would be a fantastic thing. However, there is a history of partnerships like this mysteriously resulting in studies that support the consumption of previously-regarded-as-unhealthy products.

And now Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment (the same organization that keeps you safe by not allowing you to buy bread that your neighbor baked in her kitchen, lest it be contaminated) is partnering with McDonald's to promote some of their food items -- like chicken nuggets, for example -- as healthy options for those busy, "on the go" kids.

Excuse me?

Susan Greene wrote a column about this for today's Denver Post:

"Coloradans are the fittest of all Americans. Now state health officials aim to make us even leaner by partnering with McDonald's. The announcement issued Monday by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment read like a headline in The Onion, minus the satire: 'State and McDonald's Addresses Childhood Obesity.' ... 'We are busy people, with kids in the back seat of the car. This is just an easy recognizable seal for parents to rely on to make healthier choices,' states Shana Patterson, a dietician and nutrition coordinator for the state's Smart Meals initiative."

Click here to read the full article. If you're so inspired, please leave a comment on the Denver Post webpage to let them (and Smart Meals, because you can bet they'll read the comments) know what you think of this.


Everett said...

I usually vote Democrat and consider myself a social liberal, but things like this really make you wonder if ANY kind of government-run healthcare system is worth having in America. I have lived in countries where government-run healthcare has worked, which is why I have historically supported it. But having been Stateside for the last five years, I can see that the US is different than most other countries. No other country allows such blatant corporatism to infiltrate the government. Wasting money by putting some kind of "seal" on an apple so we all know it's more healthy than a french fry is just one more example of why our government can't be relied on to do much of anything productive.

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