The Troubling Kellogg Dichotomy

[Two-headed statue]

To recap: First, the Kellogg Company sells plenty of Honey Smacks, double chocolate S’mores Krave cereal, and Frosted Confetti Cake Pop-Tarts. Part of those profits go to the trust, along with a smaller sum gained from investing in other corporations that may or may not manufacture nutritionally void pseudo-foods designed to turn children into addicts.

From the trust, money goes to the foundation, and then to the many generous programs, including anti-obesity efforts. So even though it is a couple of steps removed, the “help the obese kids” mission is bankrolled by “help the kids get obese” commerce.

A portion of the foundation money arrives at the Institute for Professional Education (IPE), and from there goes to the publications whose declared purpose is to study childhood obesity and then eliminate it. The journal Childhood Obesity and the newsletter Briefings in Childhood Obesity gather information from researchers. An editor makes the green-light decision. A submitted article representing what they believe to be true and correct is published in the magazine or newsletter, and becomes part of the curated repository of information.

The ultimate sugar daddy

The corporation that created the items mentioned in the first paragraph is behind all this, and many people are uncomfortable with such a state of affairs. But there is a second powerful doubt that might make a person pause and think. Take a closer look at IPE’s reason for existing:

The Institute will provide vetted educational opportunities in a widely respected, effective environment.… Many of these opportunities will include accredited continuing education courses, often required for professional advancement and certification.

It’s no different from the required courses attended by practical nurses who must renew their CPR credentials each year to keep their licenses. IPE looks to be in the continuing education business too, on a much bigger and more impressive scale. IPE wants not only to save the public from its ignorance, but to indoctrinate the professionals. The resources to make it possible come from the same deep pocket.

Ostensibly, the publications are supposed to be learning from researchers and academics and professionals. But the entity that pays the publications’ bills is in charge of teaching those same researchers, academics, and professionals — the ones they’re supposed to be learning from. It’s just a little too cozy for some tastes. The issue is the same conflict experienced by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Should seminars and continuing education classes be paid for by corporations that sell some of the very products that cause the problem? And if not them, who?

It all strikes a deep chord of cognitive dissonance. It’s great that the W. K. Kellogg Foundation wants to help kids, and it has done significant things. But there are hundreds of ways to help kids. Maybe it could focus on helping kids some other way, rather than in the realm of childhood obesity, where it has so many attachments and loyalties. Maybe it could avoid the areas of philanthropy connected with food, and let some other foundation foot the bill for that one.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “About: Vision and Mission,” www.instituteforprofessionaled.org, undated
Image by Quinn Dombrowski

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