A little over a month ago I was invited to support the Ontario Medical Association at a food industry breakfast. They asked me to offer my comments on how the food industry might help in improving the health of our society. I was a little surprised that the food industry wanted to hear from me at all, given I'm certainly a critic, but was thrilled to have the opportunity.
Unfortunately, just three days prior to the event, I was uninvited without the courtesy of an explanation or an apology. Given I already had the day booked off, it was too late to rebook the patients I'd cancelled, and that I'd already put together my slide deck, I decided to record my talk and post it online.
The good news is that online I don't have a time keeper and because I'm not speaking solely to the food industry, I don't need to be as gentle with my messaging as I'd planned. Also good news is who I'll now be able to reach. Rather than just a small room full of food industry executives who might politely listen but weren't likely going to cultivate change, I'll have a global audience.
From policy makers, to public health authorities, to professors, physicians/dieticians and other allied health professionals, to journalists and nutrition bloggers -- the Internet's a big place. You'd almost think Fleishman-Hillard, the PR and communications firm responsible for my last minute dis-invitation were working for me and not for the food industry as no doubt my message has already made far more of an impact than it would ever have done in that breakfast hall.
So here's my talk. It's about what the food industry could do to improve public health, why they're not going to, and what we can do about it. But before you click it, a quick request -- I want you to share it by means of every socially networked channel and email contact you have, because if the communications firm hired by the food industry to help cultivate good Big Food PR didn't want it heard, I figure it probably ought to get spread.
Yoni Freedhoff, MD, is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa, where he's the founder and medical director of the Bariatric Medical Institute -- dedicated to non-surgical weight management since 2004.
Dr. Freedhoff sounds off daily on his award-winning blog, Weighty Matters.