Thompson Spreads 'Gospel of Personal Responsibility'

The media giants have taken interest in America's obesity epidemic - recently sponsoring a three-day conference - but the food industry appears to be calling the shots when it comes to dealing with the issue. "What I found most striking at the [Time/ABC News Obesity Summit] was the utter lack of leadership from our federal government officials," writes Center for Informed Food Choice's Michele Simon. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson's keynote speech "had all the cheerleading you might expect, but none of the substance. He was long on showing off government programs ostensibly addressing the problem, but short on acknowledging how they could do better. The chilling call to go out and 'spread the gospel of personal responsibility' is still ringing in my ears. Just as disturbing was the glowing praise for industry, including at least one mischaracterization of their promises. Contrary to Thompson's statement, Coca-Cola has not vowed to end exclusive contracting in schools, and certainly has not done so. Moreover, the secretary's glee over the increasing 'low-carb' menu options in restaurants (he referenced this 'good news' more than once) was especially startling for its nutritional dubiousness," Simon writes.