Earlier this year, the National Park Service (NPS) proposed a new policy that would open parks to corporate advertising and allow the sale of naming rights at National Parks. The public comment period on the policy change closed months ago, but the NPS hasn’t made the comments publicly available. After Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) requested copies under the Freedom of Information Act, the NPS provided 345 comments, 78% of which express opposition to the new policy.
Children already encounter so much marketing at home, in their communities, and even in school. Parks should be places where children can be outdoors, be physically active, and appreciate nature – not develop brand-loyalty.
CCFC and Commercial Alert have sent the NPS a letter requesting specific changes to the proposed policy and urging them keep our national parks free of corporate advertising. Interested in helping the effort? CCFC has a petition you can sign telling the NPS to keep the parks marketing-free.
In its report, the World Health Organization references many systematic reviews of policy strategies aimed at improving diet and preventing obesity and diabetes. “The evidence was strongest and most consistent for the effectiveness of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes in the range of 20-50% in reducing consumption,” the meta-review concludes.
Not surprisingly, the beverage industry disagrees with the World Health Organization. According to a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the American Beverage Association and its two largest members, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, spend at least $14 million per year at the federal level to thwart not only a federal soda tax, but other legislation that would decrease sugar intake like the recent updates to the nutrition facts label, and the sugar guidelines in the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The beverage industry has given millions of dollars to nearly 100 prominent health groups in recent years, and yet has spent millions to defeat any public health legislation that would reduce Americans’ soda intake, according to public health researchers from Boston University School of Public Health and School of Medicine.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, make clear the beverage industry’s financial ties to the health organizations over the past five years, which create direct conflicts of interest for health organizations. Even the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics accepted $525,000 from Coca-Cola in 2012, and $350,000 in 2013.