Friday, May 21, 2010

American Heart Association Exposed "Selling" Endorsements

I have been critical of the AHA in the past for their stodgy, politically correct perspective on heart disease but this takes the cake. No longer satisfied to endorse sugary, diabetes-inducing foods as heart healthy, they have expanded their coveted "Heart Check" endorsement to the Wii video game console on the premise that several of its games promote fitness. As one of my contemporaries titled it in his post on the Track Your Plaque Forum, "AHA whores for Nintendo." I could not have said it better myself!

What is stunning is that AHA has made selling their endorsement big business. Get a load of this brochure on the AHA website. Here is the AHA pitch . . .

"Shoppers want clear, simple purchase guidance from a trusted source. The American Heart Association heart-check mark increases product sales because seeing the mark on a package assures shoppers they are making a smart choice."

SMART CHOICE?!! OH REALLY?!! The AHA has figured out that they have created a trust factor among consumers (misplaced trust in my humble opinion) and want to cash in on it - big time.

  • Nevermind that they are hopelessly behind the the cutting-edge of heart health science (they continue to push dietary cholesterol and saturated fat as the keys to heart health - NOT!).

  • Nevermind they endorse foods like "Berry Burst Cheerios-Triple Berry" (22 grams of wheat and sugar, the top two ingredients). There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes and the AHA pushes sugar and highly-processed carbs into the veins of children as sure as if it were drugs through a needle.

  • Nevermind that regardless of whether your product is heart healthy or not THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GET THE AHA ENDORSEMENT IS TO PAY FOR IT!
The AHA now seeks to expand their misuse of this misplaced trust to other dubious product groups and are putting the hard sell out on the streets. They charged Nintendo a whopping $1.5 million for their "endorsement." Think about it, the AHA and Nintendo are teaming up to put the outrageous notion in the minds of consumers that buying a video game is heart healthy because in certain, non-representative situations, you could get some aerobic exercise.

I do not doubt that you can work up a real sweat playing several different video games - but is that the norm? Will Nintendo put a label on "Super Mario Brothers" that states "Nevermind?" This is the same sort of outrageous claim the FDA has recently outlawed for other products. If your claim is not representative of typical results you can be sued! Any hungry lawyers out there?

I am sad to have come to now hold the opinion the once proud AHA has indeed become a "whore" to the almighty dollar. They have lowered themselves to the level of "used car salesmen" and "snake oil peddlers." There is a lot of talk about boycotts these days. How about we start with the AHA and the disreputable companies that buy into their hucksterism to push their products on unsuspecting consumers!

Yeah, that means you General Mills and Nintendo. Consumers have lots of options for breakfast foods and entertainment. What do you think their reaction will be when they find out you and the AHA have been distorting the truth?!

Looking out for your heart health,


HeartHawk

11 comments:

The Baltimore Babe said...

I came across your refreshing blog on heart health and thought you'd
like to make an impact on our dietary history in the United States. I
thought you'd like to know that the USDA Dietary Guidelines are open
for comment:

Here is your chance to tell the US government your thoughts on what
our dietary guidelines should be! The comment period is open until
July 15th. Here is the link to the USDA Dietary Guidelines:

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm

Please also tell your colleagues to join as well..

Thanks,

Laura

HeartHawk said...

Laura (aka BB):

Thanks for the link. I'll pass it on!

HH

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