Soda Makers: Blame Video Games for Child Obesity

December 20, 2007 -
A lobbyist for the massive soft drink industry blames video games - not soda pop - for America's growing problem with childhood obesity, reports the International Herald Tribune.

Responding to a plan by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome to place a surcharge on sales of sweetened soft drinks, Kevin Keane of the American Beverage Association said:
It makes no sense to single out any one single cause of obesity, which is a complex problem.

Keane added that if Mayor Newsome really wanted to fight fat, he would go after video game companies which, the lobbyist said, induced children to stay indoors instead of being "outside burning calories."

However, Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the Mayor, said:
There's a well-established nexus between obesity, which is caused by high-fructose corn syrup, and the increased health care costs for the city... [but] The mayor has no intention of imposing a fee on pizza.

GP: So, if the soda manufacturers are so concerned about video games and obesity, why are they cross-promoting with popular titles like Halo 3? (see Mountain Dew cans at left)


Re: Soda Makers: Blame Video Games for Child Obesity

We all know the real reason kid's are fat these day's. EL-NiNo is to blame. God damn storm. They told us year's down the road all kinda bad stuff would happen. See and yall thought nuffin was gonna happen. Well i guess that storm showed us eh? ;)


And this is just a load of crap... Seriously. Parents, make the kids exercise. Then they'll gradually get less fat!

Son of a... beat me to it. Lol

1 word. HYPOCRITS!!!
Thank you.

I don't think parents will buy THIS argument though. That's like Fast Food Lobbyists blaming TV for causing obesity or child rapists blaming drug addicts for causing a moral decline.

This is beyond Facepalm.

Keane first saying "It makes no sense to single out any one single cause of obesity, which is a complex problem."

Then turns around and "Keane added that if Mayor Newsome really wanted to fight fat, he would go after video game companies which, the lobbyist said, induced children to stay indoors instead of being “outside burning calories.”"

I mean, seriously, how totally STUPID is this guy?

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

See? This is why we have kids spilling diet soda on their DDR mats.

Not stupid at all. He was misquoted/insufficiently quoted in the original article. His full statement, which is QUITE reasonable, here:

Well if the parents actually made the kids move more than just to the fridge, Its obivous to see who's fault it is, The parents are the ones buying everything for them yet want to blame the company for making it.

Of course. Games are loaded with sugar. STAY AWAY FROM GAMES!

Yes, now it makes more sense. Thanks Shariq. :)

NW2K Software
Nightwng2000 NW2K Software Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

Damn, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

*cracks open a Mountain Dew*

Go over to Kotaku and you can see the soda exec was misquoted and tried to clear things up.

Basically he was saying that blaming soda for kids being fat (and applying extra tax burden to soda manufacturers and consumers) is just as bad as blaming video games (and applying special taxes to them).

Citizens: Blame lazy, stupid parents for child obesity

Single cause of childhood obesity = PARENTS.

Parents are the ones buying the food, feeding the kids, and not limiting the amount of time they spend sitting around.

I had videogames since I was a wee tyke (all the way to the late 70's), and my parents ALWAYS limited my playtime. Also, soft drinks & candy was an occasional treat that they had TOTAL CONTROL over.

Eh, even their response seemed kinda weak to me. I think they'd still rather blame games so people pay attention to them and not soda... but then they realized that gamers are known for their conspicuous consumption of Mountain Dew and it'd be wise to not piss off a large group of customers.


At least the game industry is lobbying honestly instead of mudslinging. You don't see the game industry blaming violence on sugar highs from soda..

Twinkie defense anyone?

If only they actually used real sugar in their drinks, I might actually still drink the occasional soda.

I like pop more than I like soda.

Okay after reading the article at the Kotaku website, everything make sense now.

Misquotes are common throughout the media. Heck, we should've known this by now. Jack Thompson and Lyndon Larouche misquote their sources all the time.

I remember a time when the reason for obesity was placed squarely on the responsibilty of the guy who decided to let himself go that far.

Honestly, how hard can it be to swear off soda? Quite putting the blame on drinks or other outside factors, and just admit you're an undsciplined slob!

Boy do I miss GameFuel.

"It makes no sense to single out any one single cause of obesity, which is a complex problem."

Okay, so let's...

"if Mayor Newsome really wanted to fight fat, he would go after video game companies"


So much for "it makes no sense to single out any one single cause"...
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

Obesity is not a complex problem. Sure there may be lots of contributing factors, but the following comparison explains the cause of obesity in most people:

calories in > calories out (on average).

True story here:

I'm not nor have I ever been considered obese. Earlier this year, I was 6'0" tall and my weight had crept up to 210. (I have a pretty big frame, so getting to the government recommended body-fat-index weight of 172 pounds is never going to happen. I'd look like a skeleton.)

Then I realized I was probably drinking too much sugared sodas.

Here's the deal. I love Mountain Dew. I hate diet sodas. I love coffee (no cream, no sugar). Dropping caffeine out of my diet is out of the question.

But I dropped sugared sodas and any drinks with high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient. I found a couple of diet sodas that actually taste pretty good. And I allow myself one Mountain Dew in the afternoon to keep me going. Everything else is diet or black coffee.

I've changed nothing else regarding my diet (I still love Chipotle burritos and Wendy's Baconators) or exercise habits (which consists primarily of Guitar Hero at this point).

I'm down to 190 pounds. I've lost 20 pounds in 6 months.

The point of this? The American Beverage Association is 100% wrong on this.

I wonder of this man has ever heard of the Wii?

Terminator44: we still have it in our Cub Foods in Minnesota. I bought some last week.


This is nuts... hypocrisy and backstabbing at its purest level.

Not only are they turning their heads away from the aforementioned Halo 3 deal, but if they JUST SAID that picking out a single 'cause' of obesity is not a smart way to end the problem, then why are they actually doing so?

Just... no. You know what? No.

I heard that bonehead talk about this on network news(it was either CNN or MSNBC, I really don't remember). But I will tell you this, I used to be Obese (by about 5 pounds), beacaused I did not exersize and eat right.I started eater better and exersized a lot more and lost 20-23 pounds.And heres the funny thing, I play more video games today than I did when I was obese (a lot more, I was a casual gamer during my very heavy years). A large amount of that weight loss was from giving up soda (even diet). So stick it in your ear Keane.

Foot In Mouth disease can strike any of us... I suppose it hits politicians and lobbyist even harder.

Papa Midnight

I wish people would read through some of the comments before commenting. Another poster and I have already pointed out that the article misquotes Keane.

I also wish GP would fix the news story. :\

When I read this (just the title) my hand flew from my knee to my face for a facepalm.

"It makes no sense to single out any one single cause of obesity, which is a complex problem."

What the hell? Does this guy realizes that he just contradicted himself by making this statement and then going on to blame video games?

When will the stupid stop?


Its not the sugar, you could do that all day an not deal with weight issues, its the high fructose corn syrup.

@Terminator 44
I saw several 12-packs at my local Wal-Mart this morning.


@Soda Makers

Screw you and your fizzy drinks.

Pop is another name for soda.

but pop is the right one

oh by the way, Kotaku got a response from the guy quoted here and this entire quote was user after he said that to blame soda [pop dammit] would use the same FLAWED logic as has recently been lobbed at the video game industry. I mean, really, who are bigger customers of their product than gamers? He's not against us guys, he's being grossly misquoted.

Just testing to see if this gets past the Spam Filter.

I chose this thread because it makes me laugh, it makes my family laugh, it would probably make my cat laugh if it could read.

That's possibly the most amusing attempt to squirm out of responsibility I have even seen. When Soda companies start actually showing some concern over the amount of crap they put into our children, then I'll start showing some concern about their opinion on other possible parts of the problem, until then, they are hippocrites and nothing more,

'I'm not doing anything until they do' is starting to become this planets' catchphrase....

I used to weight 180 at about 5"11 when I was 16-18. I drank more than 3 cans of Soda a day. Sometimes even up to 6 or more. And I played video games.

Some things happened in my life and I stopped drinking Soda completely and switched to water whenever I got thirsty, and worked out. And now I weigh 140, and I'm 19 now. I still play games.

"It makes no sense to single out any one single cause of obesity, which is a complex problem."

Then why is he singling out video games? I smell hypocrisy.

My dad's a Pediatrician who has been doing a lot of studies on childhood obesity.

Guess what? Medical literature links HFCS to the problem far more than lack of activity.

Of course, you do need to get out and play outside, lard balls. Leave your handhelds inside while you do it.

Next in the news, candy makers blame video games, not candy, to kids deteriorating tooth decay problem.......

"GP: So, if the soda manufacturers are so concerned about video games and obesity, why are they cross-promoting with popular titles like Halo 3?"

This right here is the only argument needed.



I second that. say "potato" - I say "french fries" - isn't it amazing how word selection - and quotes taken out of context - can spur furious debate? ;)

If they really want to solve the child obesity thing, then maybe they should just tax or fine the parents. It's simple: their kids have to weigh in once each new year...if they are determined to be overweight, then the parents would have to claim it on their tax return and pay extra. Some people can never motivate themselves on the road to responsibility, so you have to mess with their paychecks...(maybe I'll call Spitzer and see what he thinks...or maybe I'm just being facetious...)

I personally live for the brief time when Wendy's offers the Bacon Mushroom Melt - I act like Homer with the Ribwich ;)

I'm 33, 5'6" - and I have never weighed more than 120 lbs...soaking wet, after a sandwich, ad infinitum. It's beyond my control. I inherited my grandfather's genes (the man was a rail his whole life) and I have had the "metabolism from hell" for the entirety of mine. I'm "that guy" who can eat and eat and eat and never show it. Always with a clean bill of health, no malfunctioning glands or other body parts to speak of.

The only way I ever gain any weight is when I go to the gym regularly ( meaning muscle mass, of course). My trainer once said that he would have me drink heavy cream every morning, but the only thing it would do is give me a heart attack.

Not that I've been in quite a while, mind you, because I haven't been motivated to work out lately (not to mention the gas money I am saving by not going). I'd much rather watch a movie, play a game, or work on some music (a process centered around my PC).

My reason for this rant is to reinforce what most of us "think-for-ourselvers" already know: one simple thing alone is not to blame. Some of us can be drastically affected by a sleight change in diet and/or exercise patterns. Some of us don't even blink. It's a combination of individual genetic makeup, habits, AND mental health that dictates who we are, how we look, and so on...

When a kid hears three times the sugar and twice the caffiene, what do you think they are going to drink? MILK!!!! Yeah right, it is not the video games fault. it is the amount of sugar and fat in those drinks that is making these kids fat.
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