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N.Y. Health Commissioner Urges "Nada" Marketing to Kids

Wall Street Journal
September 18, 2009

New York state’s health commissioner, Richard Daines, is out again talking about reducing soda intake to help curb obesity, this time speaking to a crowd of health-care marketers gathered yesterday at Google’s Manhattan offices.

He made familiar points also being pushed by other experts — including those who have been calling for a penny-per-ounce soda tax. Daines stressed how many calories could be cut out of our diets simply by switching from sugar-sweetened sodas to water or low-fat milk. (Check out his YouTube video on the topic last year.)

The Health Blog asked him about why he is focused on sodas since fruit juice also contain lots of sugar. “You can really single out sugared sodas” because of the added sugars, he told us. The fruit-juice comparison is “a red herring,” he said, adding that he challenges anyone to fill up their refrigerator with pineapple juice and see if their children get fat. “It’s trying to cloud the issue,” he says.

In addition to the necessity of reducing soda intake, Daines believes two other elements are key to improving the health of children: First, marketers shouldn’t be allowed to target kids 8 years and younger. “Zero, zip, nada, bupkus,” Daines said in his talk.

Second, a “cultural norm” needs to be established to encourage healthy behaviors, starting with one home-cooked meal a week where families would sit down together with no television, phones and other distractions.





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