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Letters: April-June 2003

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California Agriculture 57(2):36-36.

Published April 01, 2003

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Politics of overconsumption

The value of the otherwise useful editorial by Joanne Ikeda and Patricia Crawford in the January-March 2003 California Agriculture is undermined by its failure to dig into the institutional structures in our society that contribute to overeating and overweight. While properly identifying the problem and its two main causes — overconsumption and underexercising—the article avoids a discussion of the socio-economic and political factors contributing to overeating. The authors briefly cite the issue of serving size, but they don't get at the underlying dynamic, namely the strenuous activities of food corporations through advertising, public relations, and political activity to pack more food into us individually and collectively. These same corporations consistently resist regulation and lobby for increased deregulation.

William H. Friedland

Research Professor and Professor Emeritus UC Santa Cruz

January-March 2003 California Agriculture

Pat Crawford and Joanne Ikeda (co-authors of the editorial “Californians face weight and health care crisis,” California Agriculture 57(1):2) respond:

We regret that we had insufficient space in our editorial to fully discuss the pathogenesis of obesity. A comprehensive examination of the factors associated with energy intake must include institutional influences, one of which is the food industry, the corporations that grow, process and sell foods. The success of this industry depends on consumers consuming more. National food intake surveys show that Americans today are eating significantly more than they did in 1980. For example, an average woman today consumes nearly twice the calories needed (3800 kcal/day) while leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. It is not known to what degree the increase in intake is a result of changing varieties of foods, larger portion sizes, increased availability of foods, or aggressive food marketing and advertising campaigns. Dr. Friedland is correct that the lobbying of the food industry for less regulation can be at odds with the consumer's best interests. At the Center for Weight and Health, we are keenly interested in all factors influencing weight, including those of the family, the community and finally the larger society with its norms, laws, regulations and mass media influences.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The editorial staff of California Agriculture welcomes your letters, comments and suggestions. Please writ to us at calag@ucop.edu or 1111 Franklin St., 6th floor, Oakland, CA 94607. Include your full name and address. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.

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Letters: April-June 2003

Webmaster Email: wsuckow@ucanr.edu

Letters: April-June 2003

Share using any of the popular social networks Share by sending an email Print article
Share using any of the popular social networks Share by sending an email Print article

Authors

From our readers

Publication Information

California Agriculture 57(2):36-36.

Published April 01, 2003

PDF  |  Citation  |  Permissions

Full text

Politics of overconsumption

The value of the otherwise useful editorial by Joanne Ikeda and Patricia Crawford in the January-March 2003 California Agriculture is undermined by its failure to dig into the institutional structures in our society that contribute to overeating and overweight. While properly identifying the problem and its two main causes — overconsumption and underexercising—the article avoids a discussion of the socio-economic and political factors contributing to overeating. The authors briefly cite the issue of serving size, but they don't get at the underlying dynamic, namely the strenuous activities of food corporations through advertising, public relations, and political activity to pack more food into us individually and collectively. These same corporations consistently resist regulation and lobby for increased deregulation.

William H. Friedland

Research Professor and Professor Emeritus UC Santa Cruz

January-March 2003 California Agriculture

Pat Crawford and Joanne Ikeda (co-authors of the editorial “Californians face weight and health care crisis,” California Agriculture 57(1):2) respond:

We regret that we had insufficient space in our editorial to fully discuss the pathogenesis of obesity. A comprehensive examination of the factors associated with energy intake must include institutional influences, one of which is the food industry, the corporations that grow, process and sell foods. The success of this industry depends on consumers consuming more. National food intake surveys show that Americans today are eating significantly more than they did in 1980. For example, an average woman today consumes nearly twice the calories needed (3800 kcal/day) while leading an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. It is not known to what degree the increase in intake is a result of changing varieties of foods, larger portion sizes, increased availability of foods, or aggressive food marketing and advertising campaigns. Dr. Friedland is correct that the lobbying of the food industry for less regulation can be at odds with the consumer's best interests. At the Center for Weight and Health, we are keenly interested in all factors influencing weight, including those of the family, the community and finally the larger society with its norms, laws, regulations and mass media influences.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The editorial staff of California Agriculture welcomes your letters, comments and suggestions. Please writ to us at calag@ucop.edu or 1111 Franklin St., 6th floor, Oakland, CA 94607. Include your full name and address. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.

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