Junk Food Companies Pledge to Reduce Calories and Fight Obesity in US While Ramping up Their Presence in the Developing World

But if high-fat, high-sugar and highly processed foods are bad for the health of Americans, are they any good for people in India and China? The answer, obviously, no.

June 3, 2010 | Source: AlterNet | by Amit Srivastava

Last month, in a bid to preempt any binding government action, sixteen food and beverage companies announced a pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories from their products in the US by the end of 2015 — ostensibly to fight obesity in the US.

Indeed, the growing obesity epidemic in the US has caught the attention of the White House, and Mrs. Michelle Obama in particular.

The announcement by the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation – — comprising some of the largest food and beverage companies in the US — came just five days after the release of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President, part of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move campaign designed to address the growing obesity epidemic in the US.

The White House Task Force report and its recommendations suggested that unless the industry made significant changes in the way it markets unhealthy junk food to children in the US, government policies could be introduced to make them do so.

Whether the announcement by the companies — which is short on the details — is a genuine commitment to reduce obesity or a public relations maneuver to appease Mrs. Obama and the White House remains to be seen.