Thursday, November 11, 2010

Warning pictures on cigarettes... why not soda and junk food too?

I read with great interest in the New York Times that the tabacco industry may within the next year have to put pictures on their packages that indicate the negative side effects of smoking.  If this F.D.A. intervention is an effective means of helping people stop smoking it might work also with the food and beverage industry. 

It may be that we need more graphic counter advertising, such as those recommended by the F.D.A., to slow down the USA's obesity epidemic. Can you imagine pictures of large rear ends on big gulps?  How about belly's bursting over belts on supersized fast food meals?  Monstrous thighs adorning buckets of greasy chicken?  Acne ridden faces on candy bars?  These images might give people pause before opting for the instantaneous gratification which often comes from eating and drinking things that are unhealthy.

Daily most of us are bombarded with scores of ads for things which don't really ad value to the quality of life, and often do just the opposite.  I'm pleased that a friend, John Forde, has a show on public television, Mental Engineering, which takes a critical look at the commercials shown on TV.  Seems that with such effective advertising and marketing industries we need to strengthen consumer education in schools and more broadly throughout the community. 

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