The Corner

Who Knew?

The World Health Organization is turning its attention to the obesity ‘epidemic,’ and, predictably enough, the result is the usual mix of junk science and anti-capitalist badgering. Amazingly the Bush administration appears to have come out with a sensible response:

“The US government favours dietary guidance that focuses on the total diet, promotes the view that all foods can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet, and supports personal responsibility to choose a diet conducive to individual energy balance, weight control and health.”

According to the Guardian , this piece of sound advice has outraged Kaare Norum. He’s a professor at Oslo University who heads the group of scientists advising WHO on this topic. What the Guardian doesn’t tell you (but blogger Scott Burgess does) is that Norum is a crank so obsessed that he believes that the sale of hot dogs and candy at gas stations should be banned. Star billing is also given to critical comments from the executive director of Commercial Alert. Commercial Alert is blandly described as “a US-based non-profit organization,” suggesting, perhaps, that it is some sort of impartial – and well-respected – observer. In fact it is a fringe group with a clear ideological agenda, most of which belongs in a lunatic asylum with, I imagine, really dull food. Check out their website for yourself.

Its mission statement says it all:

“Commercial Alert’s mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.”

Ah yes, ‘the children,’ yet again.