SIRC Media Watch Archive
The Pick – June 2004

A hint of paranoia in every mouthful. At a time when more is known about nutrition than ever, the number of overweight, underweight, obese, anorexic, bulimic Australians has hit epidemic levels because of increasing fetishism about eating that turns food into the enemy. Sydney Morning Herald

Healthy Eating: So, what exactly IS good for you? Experts promised mackerel and salmon made for healthy eating. Now the food watchdog says otherwise. Conflicting evidence on foodstuffs and medicines leaves the consumer baffled. Independent.

Obesity blitz 'will harm children'. Two Welsh politicians last night warned that the blitz on obesity threatens to create a generation of young people plagued by eating disorders. The two Assembly Members have taken official steps to highlight their fears that the body fascism in the coverage of the nation's growing obesity problem risks perpetuating damaging stereotypes. Western Mail.

Force feeding us junk facts is distorting the truth to suit the message. "Everybody tells 'good lies' in their private life, whether about Santa Claus or how nice that new haircut looks … But public life is a different matter. We now know that we were misled by those horror stories about a three-year-old girl who died of heart failure. She weighed six stone, not because her parents stuffed her face with food, but because of a rare genetic condition. Her bereaved family has been traumatised, and other parents guilt-tripped about the mortal dangers of overfeeding our children, on the basis of junk facts. Yet defenders of the Commons health service committee report that highlighted this little girl’s death now seem to ask whether this really matters." Mick Hume in the Times.

He says the fat epidemic is an illusion. Ask anyone: Americans are getting fatter and fatter. Advertising campaigns say they are. So do federal officials and the scientists they rely on. But Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity researcher at Rockefeller University, argues that contrary to popular opinion, national data do not show Americans growing uniformly fatter. Instead, he says, the statistics demonstrate clearly that while the very fat are getting fatter, thinner people have remained pretty much the same ₀ As an obesity researcher, he might be expected to endorse the prevailing view that obesity in this country is out of control. But Dr. Friedman said he was outraged by the acceptance of what he sees as a hurtful myth, one that encourages people to believe that if you are fat, it is your fault. The obesity arena "is so political, so rife with misinformation and disinformation," he said. New York Times.

Doctor's diary: Lazy days and hot nights fuel obesity. It certainly seems plausible that the food industry and supermarkets may be to blame for making us greedier. They have, after all, over the past 20 years done infinitely more than any health committee to improve the quality of people's lives by introducing them to a bewildering variety of high quality foods. Perhaps many of us, as a consequence, have been tempted to eat much more. But it is not so: astonishing as it may seem, we now eat one fifth less than in the 1970s. That leaves sloth as the primary culprit, for which there are several possible reasons. Telegraph.