The chairman of the International Obesity Taskforce says that the world needs a “Traffic Light” food-labeling system in order to address the increased incidence of overweight and obesity in children.
In his comments he said that Singapore’s “Trim and Fit” programme doesn’t go far enough, despite it’s success.
What’s the Trim and Fit programme?
It was introduced in Singapore in 1992 and, since then, the proportion of obese school children in Singapore has dropped from 14 percent to 9.3 percent.
Wow! With the increased incidence of overweight and obesity in children throughout the rest of the world I’d think folks would be pretty excited about these results.
The program focuses on getting kids to be more physically active and knowledgeable about nutrition. But, here is the key — the promoted benefits of the program are the following:
* Feel more confident
* Increase self-esteem
* Experience fewer medical problems
* Improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels
* Reduce anxiety and stress
* Build healthy bones and muscles
* Be more alert and study better
* Look better
* Control weight
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know my point. Eating healthier and getting more physical activity have wonderful benefits but weight loss isn’t one of them. The Singapore programme promoters understand this. Therefore, kids are encouraged to exercise and eat well for reasons other than losing weight.
That’s the way it should be. By taking this approach, kids can relax about their weight and, instead, just enjoy physical activity and good food.
But, for some crazy reason, this Obesity Taskforce guy thinks more needs to be done. His recommendation? — a worldwide food-labeling system where foods with high fat and sugars would be required to have a “red” label and foods with low fat and sugars would get a “green” label (those in the middle would be required to have a “yellow” label).
So, where is the research that foods high in fat and sugars cause overweight and obesity? And, who is going to decide which foods get which label? For example, does chocolate get a red label even though it has been shown to have positive health effects?
Here’s the reality — there is absolutely no evidence that foods high in fat and sugars cause overweight and obesity. And, until there is (which will never happen because such foods are NOT the cause), we certainly shouldn’t put a labeling system in place which suggests a cause and effect relationship exists.
Author of The Straight Scoop About Childhood Obesity