Forget Transfats! Step Away from that Copy of Seventeen Magazine!

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) wants legislation to ban "junk food" advertising to children. To wit:

"A serious approach to childhood obesity would not allow corporations to appeal directly to children and convince them to eat foods that harm their health—period," said CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson.

Now the Washington Post reports a new study that finds that "reading articles about diet and weight loss could have unhealthy consequences later."

The article continues:

Teenage girls who frequently read magazine articles about dieting were more likely five years later to practice extreme weight-loss measures such as vomiting than girls who never read such articles, the University of Minnesota study found.

It didn't seem to matter whether the girls were overweight when they started reading about weight loss, nor whether they considered their weight important. After taking those factors into account, researchers still found reading articles about dieting predicted later unhealthy weight loss behavior.

Get it? Advertising makes you fat; diet information makes you anorexic. Kind of a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation. It won't be long before the food and nutrition busybodies conclude that since information is toxic that we need to suspend the First Amendment. Of course, they'll do it "for the children."

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  1. Reading about the activities of the food and nutrition busybodies is GUARANTEED to make you puke.

  2. Seriously.

    What the fuck is wrong with these people?

    Jesus Christ.

  3. HAAA! Good one Ron
    [wipes soda off screen]

  4. It won’t be long before the food and nutrition busybodies conclude that since information is toxic that we need to suspend the First Amendment.

    Maybe they just want to help parents have some sensible discussions with their teenagers about which magazines they choose and how they use the magazines teleologically.

    Not every literary criticism is a First Amendment assault.

    Maybe they are trying to persuade the magazines at issue to, in their private judgement, aspire to better standards voluntarily, without threatening legislation.

    Bailey is being pretty NRA-ish here. very Israel versus Palestine.

    Disclaimer: didn’t RTFA — link didn’t seem to work — my apologies if I am contradicting the article somehow.

  5. Girls in middle school who read dieting articles were twice as likely five years later to try to lose weight by fasting or smoking cigarettes, compared to girls who never read such articles. They were three times more likely to use measures such as vomiting or taking laxatives, the study found.

    Of course, in the intervening 5 years, these girls were squirreled away in a Tnuctipin stasis chamber, away from contaminating influences, right?

    There’s no way something else could be influencing their behavior, even though girls who didn’t read these articles do the same thing.

    Right?

  6. Dave, advocating for legislation to prohibit advertising and/or publication of articles about a particular topic IS an assault on the 1st Amendment.

    “We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

    -George Orwell

  7. SF: With regard to the CSPI proposals–what is the opposite of “voluntary”?

  8. JW, you are an evil, evil man.

    You want to know why? Because I know what a Tnuctipin stasis field is. In fact I recalled what one was the instant I read your post.

    In other words, you have driven home to me what a freaking nerd I am. You, sir, have crushed my spirit.

    I hope you use Slaver Stage trees in your next campfire. 😉

  9. “Maybe they are trying to persuade the magazines at issue to, in their private judgement, aspire to better standards voluntarily, without threatening legislation.”

    The other day I was walking home with a friend when we were set upon by a group of thugs. They beat the shit out of my friend and took his wallet. Then they politely asked me if they could have my wallet next.

  10. Hmmm, the power of advertising aside, somehow I’m not surprised that stupid, overly vain chicks get involved in stupid, overly vain diet fads.

  11. Just put junk food ads in the mags with the bad diet info and they’ll cancel each other out.

  12. The basic problem is that too many people are either underweight or overweight. What we should do is implant a tube in everybody’s waist, and then as needed we can either suck fat out or inject fat into it. This can be done at regularly scheduled doctor visits, to ensure that everybody remains at an optimal weight.

  13. Obesity…eating disorders…psshhh. If we all just took meth we’d be thin AND productive.

  14. Sam ‘Dave’ Franklin:

    “Maybe they just want to help parents have some sensible discussions with their teenagers about which magazines they choose and how they use the magazines teleologically.”

    That’s fine—they should stick to their “newsletters” which call out unhealthy foods, etc. If CSPI restrained itself and stopped short of pushing for legislation to ban things (such as advertisements and certain ingredients), I’d have no problem with its existence. Unfortunately, they do not.

    “Not every literary criticism is a First Amendment assault.”

    Very true. Not every literary crit is a first amendment assualt. Just the ones that call for bans on advertising. Or maybe you missed the part where Jacobsen said, “A serious approach to childhood obesity would not allow corporations…”? I wonder, Dave, when he says “would not allow”, who do you think he assumes will do the disallowing? Not the government…nah…

    “Maybe they are trying to persuade the magazines at issue to, in their private judgement, aspire to better standards voluntarily, without threatening legislation.”

    Your hypothetical would be valid…if CSPI’s history didn’t show it to be a great friend of government legislation – especially when it comes to advertising – to solve their “problems”. It would be valid if the article in question wasn’t about CSPI supporting the UK’s BAN on junk food and suggesting we implement it here. Thus, your hypothetical situation where CSPI is merely “trying to persuade the magazines”, is horseshit.

    “Disclaimer: didn’t RTFA — link didn’t seem to work — my apologies if I am contradicting the article somehow.”

    Your disclaimer should come at the top of your post, and should read “Don’t take too much stock in what I’m about to say, because I’m too busy to read the link I’m talking about, and so, most likely, what I’m about to say is way off-base.

  15. Evan!

    instead of “Don’t take too much stock in what I’m about to say, because I’m too busy to read the link I’m talking about, and so, most likely, what I’m about to say is way off-base.”

    simply:

    “just ignore me, because I’m the most fucking rediculus (sic) poster this side of the military lawyer”.

    that fits better on the bumper sticker, too!

    (srsly: DW isn’t even worth the effort for the lampshade whatsoever. It’s better off ignoring him and letting his taint rash consume him.)

    inappropriately,
    Moose.

  16. there’s something to be said for a style of trolling like that, however.

    what it is, i don’t know, but there’s something to be said there.

  17. SF: With regard to the CSPI proposals–what is the opposite of “voluntary”?

    I wasn’t addressing the CSPI proposed ban(s) above, but I think I am pretty clearly on record here as opposing most food bans in favor of vigorous, rigorous labelling and traditional (read: limited) tort remedies.

  18. Bagger:

    Nicely done.

  19. One of our biggest problems today is that we have too many calorries to eat. Oh dear, how horrible. The rest of the world should be so lucky.

    In other words, you have driven home to me what a freaking nerd I am. You, sir, have crushed my spirit.

    Not at all, not at all, you’re just a consumer of fine literature! Besides, I think it’s healthy to work the word ‘Tnuctipin’ into conversation at least once a year. Even if it doesn’t call for it.

    Slaver stage trees? Not a Puppeteer’s chance! But tanj it, that would be WAY cool, from a good distance.

    I suspect Jacobson is a latent Thrintun anyway…it explains a lot.

  20. So what is the next step? When then ban junk food advertising, and it doesn’t work… and they ban the junk food, and it makes no difference?

    If I argue (truthfully) that part of the reason for the obesity epidemic is that personal responsiblity has been completly removed from the concept of physical health by government legislation and health nannies – Will they retreat from their policies as an anti-obesity measure?

  21. Of course, in the intervening 5 years, these girls were squirreled away in a Tnuctipin stasis chamber

    More threads should contain references to Larry Niven’s Known Space series. For this, I award JW a five-second jolt with a tasp.

    Two seconds for tarran.

  22. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

    All these nanny-state “I know what’s better for you than you do so I’ll force the government to force you to do/keep you from doing what I say” campaigns are a logical result of socialized government. If the government (and more specifically, the nanny-busibodies) is paying for your health care it makes sense that they will try to control your behavior. These authoritarian measures are the symptom not the disease. Get rid of socialized medicine and you’ll have a much better place from which to oppose these measures.

  23. Anyway, I suspect the study mistakes an effect for a cause: that the girls who wind up anorexic are already worried about their weight, so they search out and read diet articles.

  24. Does anybody know why the media keeps repeating crap from Jacobsen and his Nader front group. They dont pay any attention to Nader any more but are sure to print any nonsense this fool spouts with no disclaimer on who they are.

  25. “The basic problem is that too many people are either underweight or overweight. What we should do is implant a tube in everybody’s waist, and then as needed we can either suck fat out or inject fat into it. This can be done at regularly scheduled doctor visits, to ensure that everybody remains at an optimal weight.”

    There was an episode of Ren & Stimpy that basically did this. Ren had all the fat liposuctioned out of Stimpy and then drank it down in a bid to be the fat, loveable one of the pair.

  26. These people are missing out on two key points.

    1.) Junk food is yummy. I don’t need the media to tell me that, I think I pretty much figured it out on my own by the age of 3.

    2.) “Scary skinny” celebrities that have been on the cover of EVERY SINGLE MAGAZINE RECENTLY aren’t skinny because they have body image issues, they’re skinny because THEY SNORT COCAINE. I guess you can’t tell 12-year-olds that, but adults should at least realize it for themselves.

  27. one of my professors this past semester is big in the anti-children’s-marketing movement (she brought in CSPI people to speak to our class), and she was always going on about how useful it was for advocates to use children’s marketing as a ruse to push all sorts of policies … her whole gist was “well, we pretty much didn’t care about the children aspect, but we knew it would sell better”

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