Reaction to the Statement of GMA Regarding Obesity

The Grocery Manufacturers of America discusses one of the most complex issues facing America’s society today – the problem of obesity. The group talks about several key arguments that are associated to the fight against obesity. First of all, they share the growing concern for preventing the problem through the encouragement of healthy eating habits, especially among the youth; pointing out that a healthy lifestyle is deemed essential and can be achieved through a balanced diet coupled with regular exercise.

Secondly, the GMA acknowledges the fact that there is no single cause, as well as a singe solution for the problem, attributing obesity to several key factors such as genetics, economic and social factors, as well as cultural practices. One of their more important arguments though, is in their belief that obesity is not something that can be prevented through means such as the implementation of new restrictions, taxes, bans, and regulations, rather the solution perceived is the presentation of tools and resources that will directly affect the people.

Examples of these tools are the providing of sufficient nutrition information to the parties involved, the funding of more physical education and recreational opportunities, and the funding of research that will provide ways to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. At first, it would seem that they have not acknowledged that they are part of the growing problem of obesity; pointing out the deficiencies of the government, both national and local, the schools, even the consumers themselves, but near the end of the speech, they pointed out the fact that they are also part of the problem.

According to the speaker, Lisa Katic (2004), they know that the GMA and its members have a very important role to play if the people are to win the war against obesity. GMA and its members, according to her, should “devote much effort to product development and innovation, providing products to meet consumers’ changing dietary needs, and reassessing portions size and packaging to make sure consumers understand the important point that calories count. As important as it is regulate access to unhealthy foods, the GMA has stressed that it is not the wisest thing to do.

They are against the idea of restriction, but rather they are for the idea of education. Promoting awareness especially among the youth on the dangers of over-eating for them seems a more plausible solution. In my opinion, no one party can be blamed for the growing problem of obesity. Industries can do so much as to put the calorie count of their products, or recommend daily servings, or regulate their product package size, but it still is ultimately up to the consumer on how much they want to eat, given the notion that they have the resources to purchase their desired food product.

What I think is lacking in this problem is not in the part of the industry or the consumer, rather there should be a third party as being pointed out in the article, parties such as schools, and other institutions to help both parties. I also believe that it is not a crime to offer a variety of food choices as long as one company is honest enough to provide all of the necessary information in their packages, like for example the calorie count, the nutrition facts and the recommended daily servings.

More importantly, these bits and pieces of information should be as much as possible 100% accurate so as not to fool the consumers. With regards to this release, I think that it is more of a step forward with regards to the battle against obesity given that the producers, in this case the GMA, is given an avenue to express their concerns in areas where they could ask for help, or point out the deficiencies of other parties involved in this bigger picture. This, for me, is the start of a healthy relationship between producers and consumers.

Sources Cited: Grocery Manufacturers Association. (February, 2004). GMA Testifies Before Vermont House Committee on Obesity. Retrieved March 22, 2009, from http://www. gmaonline. org/news/docs/Testimony. cfm? DocID=1274& National Institutes of Health. (June, 2002). Childhood Obesity on the Rise. Retrieved March 21, 2009, from http://www. nih. gov/news/WordonHealth/jun2002/childhoodobesity. htm Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity Prevention. Retrieved March 21, 2009. from http://www. thecommunityguide. org/obesity/