The Ironic Politics of Obesity

Prof. Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH

New York University

Tuesday, April 13, 2004 - 12:15pm to 1:15pm

Although hundreds of millions of people throughout the world lack food as a result of economic inequities, hundreds of millions more are overweight to the point of increased risk of diet-related chronic diseases. Wealthy countries such as the United States have up to twice as much food as can be consumed by the population on a daily basis. This situation causes intense competitiveness among food companies because they have only two choices: to get people to eat more of their foods than those of competitors, or to get people to eat more in general. Food companies pursue these goals through advertising, marketing strategies to encourage food consumption, adding nutrients, marketing to selected target populations, and selling abroad. This presentation describes how overabundant food leads to overconsumption and explores its health, economic, and ethical consequences.


April 13, 2004