WASHINGTON: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has gone online to campaign against childhood obesity.
It has launched a new website, Smart-Mouth.org, to talk about health and nutrition in a kid-friendly format, and to counter food-industry messages that it says encourage kids to overeat and to eat in unhealthy ways.
At least one food-industry group has objected that the site contains half-truths and is anti-red meat. The Center for Consumer Freedom has even acquired the hyphenless smartmouth.org URL, and used it to rebut the CSPI's claims.
The CSPI launched the site September 17 with a press release and by contacting nutrition and health professionals and teachers, said Margo Wooten, director of nutrition policy. The center is now asking health and science groups to link to the new site.
"No one tool, no one approach is going to cure childhood obesity. We see this as part of a number of different educational efforts we have done over the years," Wooten said.
The site encourages children to become active in food-industry issues, providing a form letter, for example, that they can send to Burger King telling the chain to switch the oil it uses in the French-fry cooking process.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association responded to the site's alleged anti-red-meat stance, issuing a statement to a trade magazine that read, "We are dismayed by the tone and the 'facts' that are taken out of context."
Wooten countered, "I don't think it's anti-meat. Beef and pork are sources of saturated fats in kids' diets. That's not anti-meat, it's the truth," she said.