The Childhood Obesity Comedy Spot


Want to hear something funny? The American Beverage Association‘s statement is pretty darn hilarious. Issued on the anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program, it contains the following gems of humor:

Two years ago today, we proudly stepped up to support the First Lady’s comprehensive approach with our Clear on Calories initiative — and we’re delivering on that commitment. By placing clear calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack we produce, our industry is making it easier for parents and individuals to choose the beverage that’s right for them and their families. This effort, along with our industry providing more choices and fewer calories, will have a meaningful and lasting impact.

An SSB is not, as the initials seem to imply, a “social disease,” but it might as well be. An SSB is a sugar-sweetened beverage, containing either natural sugar or artificial sweetener, or both, and it may or may not be fizzy. It might call itself soda pop or fruit juice, or a sports drink, or an energy drink, but it’s all the same old grossly unhealthful swill in different-shaped bottles and cans with multi-colored labels. Yet the lobbyists have the nerve to claim:

America’s beverage companies are making it easier to choose the beverage that’s right for you — with more choices, smaller portions, fewer calories and clear calorie labels.

It’s all part of the plan. The multiplicity of products and the garishness of their packaging can just about stupify a person. While a beleaguered parent is busy reading labels and trying to figure out which is the not only the lesser of two evils, but the least of several hundred shelf-feet of labels, the kids are loading more highly suspicious items into the grocery cart.

Meanwhile, Yale University’s Rudd Center has issued a report that blows all the industry propaganda right out of the water. It shows how the nutritional claims on the packaging can mislead even the most conscientious parents.

The beverage-industrial complex promised to reduce its advertising of SSDs to children and teens. Well, guess what — now there is more advertising than ever! And it’s just as deceptive as ever. A lot of the stuff that’s sold as fruit juice or energy-boosting refreshment is just as full of sweetener as soda, if not more so.

It’s easy to convince oneself that children’s fruit drinks must be beneficial, but 40% of them contain artificial sweeteners, and some of those chemicals are not even required to be listed on the label!

Remember the nasty stuff called neotame that Childhood Obesity News wrote about a while back? It hasn’t gone away, and its menace has grown. Mike Barrett of Natural Society tells us the worst part:

Even if you wanted to avoid this sweetener, you may find it impossible to do so. Not only are there no labeling rules for Neotame, but it is even included in the USDA certified organic food.

To be continued…

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “American Beverage Association Statement on ‘Let’s Move!’ Anniversary,”, 02/09/12
Source: “Just give me the FACTS!,”
Source: “Toxic Artificial Sweetener ‘Neotame’ May Be Lurking in Your Organic Food,”, 01/10/12
Image by 2493 (Gavin Bobo), used under its Creative Commons license.

One Response

  1. Hi,

    I am writing on behalf of the MDPA Conference on Communicating Childhood Obesity Prevention and Policy. The conference is to take place March 20-21 in Silver Spring, MD. I came across your blog while doing research for our bi-weekly newsletter on childhood obesity called MDPA Minute. I think our conference something your audience would be interested in. Would you be interested in receiving some press passes for this event in exchange for helping to promote it to your readers and blogging about it?


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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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