The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4171.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 12:50 PM

Abstract #74411

Politics of food: Big sugar vs. public health

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University, 35 West Fourth St, Tenth Floor, New York, NY 10012-1172, (212) 998-5595,

Food would seem to be the least political of issues but virtually every aspect-from production to consumption-is fraught with conflict over economic as well as societal implications. Stakeholders in the food system include producers, processors, preparers, and consumers; those who provide materials and services to components of the food system; and government agencies responsible for agricultural support and trade, dietary advice, food labeling, safety regulation, education, and health. Because the U.S. food system provides nearly twice as many calories per capita as needed (3900 kcal as opposed to about 2200), the food industry is especially competitive. In this environment, companies use the political system to protect their products from unfavorable regulations or dietary advice that might suggest eating less of their products. In recent years, lobbying groups for the sugar industry have been especially aggressive in opposing dietary recommendations to reduce consumption of sugars. Sugars contain calories but no other nutrients, and consumption of diets high in added sugars has been associated with poor-quality diets and overweight. This presentation uses sugar industry lobbying activities, especially those against the World Health Organization, as an example of the ways in which food companies value profits over public health.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The Politics of Food: The American Diet and Food Safety

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA