90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Making ‘Big Food’ Pay For Obesity

With obesity-related health costs soaring, could states take a cue from the tobacco battle and sue “Big Food” to pay for the poundage?

In this June 17, 2013 photo, two women cross the street in Barre, Vt. A group of lawyers have been lobbying state attorneys general to a join a future suit against "Big Food" in response to the growing obesity epidemic. (AP)

In this June 17, 2013 photo, two women cross the street in Barre, Vt. A group of lawyers have been lobbying state attorneys general to a join a future suit against “Big Food” in response to the growing obesity epidemic. (AP)

In the 1990s, the American tobacco industry was reined in and made to pay, big-time, for the health consequences of cigarettes and more.  An epic quarter trillion-dollar legal settlement in a suit brought by states to make Big Tobacco pay.  Now there’s a push on to do the same with Big Food.  To make the American food industry pay for the devastating health consequences of soaring American obesity.  To sue Big Food.  Opinions are all over the map on whether it’s justified.  Whether it can or should be done.  This hour On Point:  the push to sue Big Food for American fat.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Paul McDonald, partner at the Valorem Law Group in Chicago.

Kelly Brownell, professor and dean of the school of public policy at Duke University.

Bruce Silverglade, principal attorney at the law firm of Olsson Frank Weeda Rweman Matz.

From Tom’s Reading List

Politico: The plot to make Big Food pay –“Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs. It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.”

Los Angeles Times: Siting markets in ‘food deserts’ no quick cure for obesity, study says — “The latest research, published in the journal Health Affairs, underscores what many on the front lines of the war on obesity have begun to surmise: that reversing obesity will be far more complicated than simply turning back the clock on developments that may demonstrably have led us to a place where roughly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.”

Forbes: How Big Food’s Attackers Are Undermining Their Cause — “The problem is that instead of laser focusing on solving the biggest issue related to food consumption, obesity, hyperactivists bundle a host of food-related problems together and remain unsatisfied if all of them are not solved their way. So instead of zeroing in on obesity, which is a caloric matter, they throw their distaste for ‘Big Food’ company practices into the mix: processed foods; the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms); Bisphenol A (BPA) in bottled water containers; and excess levels of salt, sugar, and fat. Activists’ lack of focus promises only to inflame their war against the industry and wreak havoc with more constructive interaction between the public health community and the food industry.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 30, 2015
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch gathers her papers during a break in her testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on her nomination. (AP)

Obama abroad. Hostage drama. Attorney general hearings. Snow days. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jan 30, 2015
In the new film "American Sniper," Bradley Cooper plays real-life US Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who was the deadliest marksman in American history. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

“American Sniper.” Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper’s war film keeps crushing at the box office and stirring more controversy. We’ll go to it.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 30, 2015
In the new film "American Sniper," Bradley Cooper plays real-life US Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who was the deadliest marksman in American history. (Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures)

“American Sniper.” Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper’s war film keeps crushing at the box office and stirring more controversy. We’ll go to it.

 
Jan 30, 2015
Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch gathers her papers during a break in her testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on her nomination. (AP)

Obama abroad. Hostage drama. Attorney general hearings. Snow days. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 30, 2015
Friday, Jan 30, 2015

Emails, on-air interactions and the dystopic legend of Shia LaBeouf. (We aren’t kidding about that last one, we swear).

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
3 Comments