How about your perspective as a voting citizen or city resident?
Learning Goal: I’m working on a health & medical question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.5.7.2 Case DescriptionYou direct the Healthy Public Policy program for a large municipal public health department that recently has come under fire in a newspaper exposé about contributions from fast food companies to after-school programs for youth that the city government runs. The exposé highlighted the contributions of Big Boss Burger, a local fast food hamburger chain with 12 locations across the city. Big Boss Burger donates cooking equipment to the city’s high-priority, after-school cooking program for 9- to 11-year-olds. Although the program is well-liked by youth, it is regularly threatened by funding cuts. The chain has recently offered to scale-up its annual cash donation to cover all food and equipment costs in exchange for renaming the program “The Big Boss Burger Community Kitchen” and for placing the chain’s logo on all signage and promotional materials.The highly successful Big Boss Burger chain is owned by a beloved, self-made restaurateur who has spent his entire career in the local food industry. Considered a colorful local personality, he frequently sends Twitter updates that reflect his over-the-top advertising style. One tweet, for example, offered a free sample of the chain’s “quadruple bypass” burger to anyone who visited one of the chain’s locations within the hour.Media spokespersons for the mayor, meanwhile, have reiterated the community benefits of cultivating positive partnerships with local businesses. They note that only registered public health nutrition staff run the city’s cooking programs, while insisting that Big Boss Burger has no influence whatsoever on city policies or youth curricula.The media furor nevertheless has prompted city officials to explore developing a sponsorship policy for municipal child and youth programs. The Medical Health Officer has asked you to prepare a briefing note outlining the key public health considerations that such a sponsorship policy needs to address.You face a dilemma. On the one hand, several years ago your Healthy Public Policy team launched a study of the impact of food and beverage advertising on children. Last year’s update on the study to the Board of Health included a recommendation that city-operated venues and programs avoid commercial advertising of food and beverages targeting children younger than 13 years of age. Thus far, the recommendation has not led to any formal policy changes. Municipal employees partly attribute this inaction to the reluctance of local authorities to act when there are no state or national policies that govern sponsorship or marketing restrictions.On the other hand, the financially strapped city relies on engagement with the local business community to fund many city-run programs, including health education activities. It is also well-known that the owner of Big Boss Burger grew up in a local low-income community and frequently volunteers his time at events in his former neighborhood.]QUESTIONS4.How will public opinion inform your briefing note? How will you handle the situation given that Big Boss Burger is a highly popular fast food chain and that the owner is a local public personality?
5.What are (and should be) the roles and responsibilities for various city departments in defining the sponsorship policy? Consider, for example, city departments responsible for public health, parks and recreation, municipal licensing, social services, and economic development.
6.Let’s imagine that you are a parent of two girls, ages 6 and 9 years. In an ideal world, how much food and beverage marketing do you think they should be exposed to? How does your perspective as a parent enter into your professional decisions as director of the Healthy Public Policy program? How about your perspective as a voting citizen or city resident?