The Blame Game: Obesity

Not a day goes by where there isn’t a news story on obesity. It is the carrier of headlines, the maker of news and the stuff tabloid news editors dream about. After all it pokes society like an angry bear and induces debate, essentially, what every paper needs in a day and age where the Indy 100’s sole aim is to create content that is as viral as possible.

But today’s gem (as many) comes from the Daily Mail (I know, no surprise) that has published a piece blaming Celebrity Food Endorsement Deals for Fuelling Childhood Obesity.

There are several ironies here and while there is an element of truth to this story (in the sense that products ladened with sugar are endorsed by celebs and therefore wanted by children) – the deeper elements we need to be concerned about are equally overlooked in this piece.

For starters, how do food companies once again slip out the back door. Of course celebrities should have a little think about what brands they endorse, but at the end of the day sponsorship from a brand like Pepsi or Coke is often a celebrities key source of income or used as a way of paying for tours and concerts. The last time we checked, salad didn’t come with a six figure pay packet – meaning that Beyonce is unlikely to champion the banana in an advert anytime soon.

But putting pay day aside, it is the power of our multi national, junk making companies that we need to be talking about. The junk food industry – especially the fizzy drinks brands are turning over a huge amount of money and fuelling their popularity through endorsement deals – and while we can bash celebrities all we like, let us not forget that the lead sponsors of the UK Olympics were Cadbury’s, McDonalds and Coca Cola – hypocritical much? The problem is the government legislation vs the power of money and I’m pretty sure throughout history the power of cold hard cash has always over ruled common sense. You can’t really bemoan the power of sugary snacks and drinks and then introduce a sketchy sugar tax that still allows them to essentially keep doing what they’re doing (and take they’re sponsorship money when it suits you).

But even if we scoop that to side there still is the problem of celebrities – yes they endorse things – but why do we let them have so much power over our future generations and shouldn’t we be trying to find a way to stop the brain washing! Perhaps this is a naive sentiment but as the power of the Kardashian klan has grown, teamed with social platforms we have some of the most depressed teenagers ever – constantly trying to measure up and live a picture perfect life. Surely finding a way to remove power and pull of celebrity endorsement would be a virtuous goal.

The bottom line is, we have a food issue, the availability of junk is too easy and too cheap and too appealing to today’s youth but rather than blaming the end user and the middlemen isn’t it time we dealt with the source?



-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine