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
Apr 27, 2015
Flowers and ribbons adorn a tree outside the Weinstein family house in Rockville, Md. last week. Earlier, President Barack Obama ook full responsibility for the counterterror missions and offered his "grief and condolences" to the families of the hostages, Warren Weinstein of Rockville, Maryland, and Giovanni Lo Porto who were inadvertently killed by CIA drone strikes early this year. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

American drone policy and consequences. We’ll look at secret strikes and the evolution of drone war.

Apr 27, 2015
Former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner at a charity event in 2013. (Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP)

Bruce Jenner opens up about his gender journey. We’ll look at the big picture of transgender life in America now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

Artists of earth and sky. Rawhide, bear claw, eagle feathers and the glory of America’s Plans Indians, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 
Apr 24, 2015
The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

Loretta Lynch gets a vote. Race and anger in Baltimore. Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Petraeus, sentenced. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Your Favorite Musical Memories Of Rain
Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015

When we say ‘rain,’ you say ‘…?’ (Here’s what you really said when we said ‘rain.’)

More »
6 Comments
 
Three LIVE Tracks From Flor De Toloache
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Fantastic live tracks from the amazing women of Flor de Toloache.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 17, 2015
Friday, Apr 17, 2015

Interactions on Facebook, campaign time begins and a truck full of bees.

More »
2 Comments