Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Primary Care

Preventing childhood obesity by reducing consumption of carbonated drinks: cluster randomised controlled trial

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 20 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1237

Rapid Response:

Re: Commercial interests

As Professor Greenhalgh aptly notes in her response, perhaps the
greatest difficulty ahead will be to disentangle commercial interests of
the food industry from the services and needs provided by those in
supportive or nurturing roles.

Commercial interests extend to a marketing opportunity for all
occasions including dietary regimes for weight loss. Weight-loss and
“healthy eating products” are sometimes anything but nutritious if you
examine the overall salt, sugar and fat listed in the ingredients.

Currently the mixed health messages on Obesity and nutrition overlook
a significant subsection of the adult population who are targeted by media
and mimetic desire of next to transparent role models, or through poverty
stand beyond it.

I refer you to
SACN findings of the national diet and nutrition survey

Perhaps noting:
Page 5 Item 12/
Page 11 Item 51/
Page 13 Item 67

Which comments on the shocking rise in soft drink consumption.
Though you may also care to consider:

Page 13 Item 69.

Obesity is a very visual measure of unhealthy nutritional status,
there is good cause to examine less apparent sectors of the population who
may be overlooked by this measure alone (1) You will note that the survey
did not encompass those over the age of 64 for whom soft or carbonated
drinks may not figure largely in their overall intake. Were they or are
they to be considered as a separate and distinct entity in a parallel or
future survey for the non-economically productive?

Perhaps an overall goal of achieving an entire population with both
equal access to health information and economic ability to purchase
affordable nutritionally desirable foods (2) which are not always the most
inexpensive, without the accompanying raucous food industry advertising
strategies designed to tap into self-image, status desire or inappropriate

Though instigation and maintenance of adequate early nutritional
balance is a key message, from a lay “gardening” perspective, any stressor
on my tomato plants throughout their lifecycle will alter the nature of
the fruit produced, be it shrivelled, swollen or split.

(1) BMJ 1997;315:338-341 (9 August)
Evaluation of validity of British anthropometric reference data for
assessing nutritional state of elderly people in Edinburgh: cross
sectional study
Bannerman et al


Dietary intakes of adults in the Netherlands by childhood and
adulthood socioeconomic position

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 May 2004
MC Feliciello