Session 6
why our
August 4-5,
Centre for Science and Environment
Profits in “bad health”
• WHO meeting in Geneva,
May 2004: Global strategy
on ‘diet, physical activity
and health’.
• Obesity growing.
Diabetes, hypertension,
heart..weak bones..called
• India country
affected by diabetes..
• Cost of healthcare
Centre for Science and Environment
WHO wants governments to take
• Indicts bad food.
• Wants sugar to be
restricted to 10% of daily
• Wants governments to stop
giving incentives to
unhealthy food..
• Wants industry to limit
levels of saturated
fat..sugar in products.
Centre for Science and Environment
Bad food
• Bad food-lifestyle indicted.
• Research done to show how sugar-fat rich
food is responsible for obesity related
• WHO says: high and increasing consumption
of sugar sweetened drinks by children is
serious concern. Each additional can each day
increases risks of becoming obese by 60 per
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“Persuading” children
• WHO says food advertising targetting children
must be restricted.
• Fast food-beverages classified as ‘eat least’ in
dietary guidelines are heavily marketed. In
1997 manufacturers spent US$ 11 billion on
“eat least” category.
• Advertising influences food choices and
dietary habits.
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“I’m loving it”..
• UK proposing to ban fast food makers from
advertising their products during children’s TV.
• House of Commons report says obesity in UK
risen by 400 per cent in 25 years.
• Asks companies to “voluntarily” withdraw
advertising in 3 years.
• Country also considering tax on fatty food.
Blair says this will be “signal to society”, to
make right choice..
Centre for Science and Environment
• Some governments prohibit advertising before
and after children’s programmes…..
• Even in US, some schools now objecting to
“pouring rights” with soft drink companies to
get funds. Some US$ 200 million in revenues to
schools in which vending machines put up in
schools for drinks. Competing with water
• For every dollar spent on nutrition education,
food industry spends US$ 5000 on advertising
says World Bank.
Centre for Science and Environment
Take caffeine in India?
• Globally caffeine only permitted in ‘cola dinks’ (China,
Canada, Australia, South Africa, Holland, Spain etc.).
Allowed till 150 mg/l. Or caffeine-free versions of sold.
• Or strong health advisory given so that people ask for
caffeine-free versions.
• PFA makes no such distinction. Allows 200 mg/l in all.
• Result: In India, caffeine added even in non-cola drinks
like PepsiCo’s ‘Mountain Dew’.
• Harmful for children, pregnant and lactating women.
• Caffeine is addictive.
• We cannot allow caffeine in non-cola.
• Reduce caffeine content to 150 mg/l in cola drinks.
Centre for Science and Environment
Labelling..weak laws.
• We also need clear warning labels if caffeine
added. Labels needed in regional languages.
• Should say: health advisory:
• “The beverage is not recommended for:
Pregnant or lactating women
Individuals sensitive to caffeine”
What about other food?
Industry will take advantage of weak laws. Be
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US government does not agree..
• Industry lobby powerful. Uses US government
to fight its cause.
• Says report “unscientific”.
• But US itself says sugar: 8 per cent of
diet..working on national strategies.
• But same global strategy would hurt its
industry..Coca-Cola 70% profits from outside
• Indian government has no position..
Centre for Science and Environment
Why should we care?
• We have diseases of poor – malnutrition etc..
• But also diseases of rich. Putting burden on
health care systems.
• WHO says…number of people with diabetes
will increases – from 84 million in 1995 to 228
million in 2025. 60 per cent in developing
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What happened?
• Health Assembly 2004: Huge lobby. Huge
pressure from industries.
• Strategy diluted.
• Says appropriate levels intake of energy,
nutrients, foods…including sugar…to be
• We are left to the mercy of food industry
and corporations in the name of Free
• But is this the “right choice”…Baby?
Centre for Science and Environment

How safe is safe? The health imperative in setting