LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Thompson Urges Restaurants to Promote Exercise
Aired May 13, 2003 - 19:51 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to move on to another story now. A domestic story here in the United States, a far different topic. Health Secretary Tommy Thompson urged restaurants today to "do right," that's what he said, in the fight against obesity by putting healthier foods on their menus and by encouraging customers to exercise more. I'm not sure how many people want to go to a restaurant to hear exercise advice, but hey, you never know. Should the government be interfering in what you choose to eat? Bruce Burkhardt gives it a chew.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is this the same as this? Eating fatty foods, both are bad for you, both cost all of us billions of dollars in health care costs, and now it seems both are the targets of lawyers.
(on camera): From the food courts to the real courts. Last year the parents of two girls sued McDonald's, blaming them for their girls' obesity. The case was thrown out recently.
And then today we hear about some guy suing Oreos, trying to get my favorite cookies banned.
(voice-over): Fast food and tobacco. How good is the analogy? One big problem with the comparison is we don't need tobacco to survive. We do need food. The murky question is how much? Who decides that? Are we getting closer to a time when the government might give us an allowance, of two Big Macs per month? That's probably a stretch even in the darkest scenario, but no question the government is feeling pressure to do something, especially where it concerns kids. The surgeon general reports that the number of overweight teens has tripled in the last 20 years.
So that's partly why Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is starting a public campaign hoping to pressure the fast food folks to offer more healthy choices.
TOMMY THOMPSON, HHS SECRETARY: We are asking them to step up and see if they can do innovative things, like encouraging their customers to eat properly and to exercise.
BURKHARDT (on camera): Well, that's a nice idea, but it's kind of hard to imagine.
Would you like to supersize that? And you know, and then, like, you know, maybe get on the treadmill later?
(voice-over): Still, we are getting fatter, a problem that begs for a solution, though some would say suing McDonald's for making me eat that McRib sandwich is probably not it.
Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Atlanta.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com