The Norman Transcript

Columns

November 30, 2013

Kids should say no to a second helping

WASHINGTON — We are desperately searching for a topic on which the White House may speak without raising the hackles of every breathing Republican. It is difficult.

But in this season of good will and gluttony, we are called to worry, by the Obama administration, about obesity among our young. The White House has raised this as a subject of grave national concern, and we rejoice, seeing a parallel.

Back in the Paleozoic age of TV advertising, tobacco companies were forced to fund anti-smoking ads aimed at children.

Children nagged smoking adults to quit. Parents hid cigarettes from disapproving progeny. But cigarette ads no longer are permitted on network TV and thus there is no coordinated industry-funded anti-smoking ad campaign aimed at children. States still collect about $25 billion a year from the federal government’s 1998 agreement with the tobacco industry and taxes but spend only 2 percent on anti-smoking efforts, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Last year the federal Centers for Disease Control conducted a three-month general anti-smoking campaign, resulting in 100,000 adults quitting, according to the medical journal The Lancet. The campaign cost $54 million, compared with $8.8 billion spent on advertising by the tobacco industry.

The moral? Media campaigns work. Adult smoking has declined although the National Cancer Institute says it still accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and 80 percent among women.

Having looked at such evidence, President Obama, who told a U.N. official he hasn’t smoked for several years because he’s scared of his wife’s disapproval, heartily approved Michelle Obama’s current campaign to reduce childhood obesity.

The first lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign is just the beginning. She complained at a White House conference in September that marketing to children of foods high in sugar and fat is a serious problem. She wants it to stop. The Federal Trade Commission estimated in 2006 that about $1.8 billion is spent on advertising junk food to American children; 70 percent of TV ads on children’s programming are for empty calories.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Matt Lauer is so last century

    How about we rename “The Today Show” the “Yesterday Show” since host Matt Lauer asks questions from 1953? Isn’t what Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra about whether she’ll do “well” at being simultaneously an executive and a mom about, oh, 30 ...

    July 14, 2014

  • Religion’s role shrinking

    Surveying the response to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision, I was struck by a comment from progressive Massachusetts senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren....

    July 12, 2014