Think tanker suggests new approach to combat obesity


Hank Cardello, a Hudson Institute Visiting Fellow, suggests that decades of attempts to improve the quality of food sold to Americans in order to improve the national health profile have proven futile, and suggests a new approach. Rather than working against the bad choices, why not incentivize good choices? One piece of advice would take ad regulation off the table.

“Over the past thirty years, nothing has worked to fix our obesity crisis — regulations have failed to arrest rising obesity rates, and consumers don’t stick with diets or exercise,” says Cardello. “The only way to fix America’s obesity problem is through the source — big food corporations.”

Cardello and the Hudson Institute are recommending use of “pragmatic market-based solutions” as the route to finding an effective way to achieve the desired result of a healthier population.

Cardello offered three specific suggestions:

* Instead of taxing sodas and fatty foods, incentivize corporations to sell products with fewer calories;

* Instead of banning ads aimed at children, use marketing to promote healthier foods;

* Instead of attacking their profits, show corporations how they can make more by selling more nutritious products.

Cardello concluded, “Altruism hasn’t worked; it’s time to point business in the right direction.”

RBR-TVBR observation: There is no question that when it comes to freedom of speech, advertising speech is not as free as that enjoyed by an average citizen. But regulating speech of any sort is always a tricky thing, and anything that takes such regulation out of play is usually a good idea.