Episode 87: Obesity and the Law

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Turns out that burgers aren’t the biggest issue

Inspired by Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and Michael Moss’s recent expose in the New York Times Magazine, we thought we’d use this week’s podcast to do a deep dive into the laws around nutrition, food labeling, and obesity. We wanted to learn what leverage the FDA actually has, if Mayor Bloomberg’s large soda ban changed anything at all, and, most importantly, what steps people and lawmakers could actually take to find a solution to our growing health problems. After all, while we’re all slowly realizing that the obesity epidemic has become the most pressing national health crisis since cigarettes, diagnosing the problem is the easy part.

Fixing it is going to take a lot more work.

We were thrilled when Jennifer L. Pomeranz took time out of her day to chat with us about it. Ms. Pomeranz is the Director of Legal Initiatives at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University (which is a mouthful, ironically) and is a lawyer who also holds a Masters in Public Health, so she was uniquely able to answer both our policy questions and our legal ones.

We touched on everything from the so-called “San Francisco Happy Meal Ban” to marketing sucrose-laden foodstuffs in public schools and Ms. Pomeranz set us straight on all of it. If anything, I’ll be avoiding soda for a while.

Thanks for listening.

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