Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following video explaining how American tax dollars go to subsidize the childhood obesity epidemic facing America. Kucinich is author of legislation, HR 4310, which would end the subsidy.
"Did you know that YOU are paying to promote the childhood obesity epidemic?
"Let me explain. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress -- with your tax dollars -- subsidizes the marketing efforts of fast food and junk food companies by as much as $19 billion dollars over ten years. And the way the federal funding system works is that if we give a tax break in one place, we need to replace that lost income from somewhere else, like with higher taxes from the rest of us. In other words, this tax break is a massive subsidy for the junk food and fast food industry. And our children are paying pay for it with their health.
"In 2004 alone, $10 billion was spent on food advertising directed at children. It is effective because a child's brain is unable to distinguish fact from fiction at a time they are developing life-long taste allegiance. If it didn't work, they wouldn't do it. According the Journal of Law and Economics, eliminating this subsidy would reduce the rates of childhood obesity by 5-7 percent.
"We can't wait. A report this month by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that "If obesity rates continue on their current trajectories, by 2030, all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent."
"While partial blame does lie with a more sedentary lifestyle, and a worsening diet, the influence of sophisticated, targeted marketing of junk food to kids has been largely ignored by the public. But the role of advertising and marketing in the childhood obesity epidemic, which now affects 1 in 3 children, is readily acknowledged by experts.
"According to the Institute of Medicine, "Aggressive marketing of high-calorie foods to children and adolescents has been identified as one of the major contributors to childhood obesity.'
"We can end this tax break, improve our kids' health and reduce our nation's debt all at the same time. It's time to stop subsidizing the childhood obesity epidemic."