President Obama advised to stop eating junk food in public

New York: A group of doctors, researchers and dieticians, led by an Indian origin doctor, is urging President Barack Obama to keep his fast-food indulgence private.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit advocacy group, has asked the White House to stop staging photo opportunities that shows the President consuming burgers, hot dogs and other junk food that the group contends cause cancer, obesity and other ailments.

The group referred to President Obama savouring hot dogs with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament in March and his bonding over burgers with former Russian President Dimitry Medvedev two years ago as examples of executive eating that promotes public ignorance about health and nutrition.

“We would like the White House to stop publicizing these photos depicting the President, vice president or First Family eating unhealthy foods like hot dogs or pepperoni pizza that contain processed meat, or cheeseburgers or hamburgers that can contribute to obesity,” the New York Daily News quoted Ulka Agarwal, the group’s chief medical officer, as saying.

“What they eat behind closed doors is their business, but at public events, they are role models,” she said.

Agarwal added that her group would prefer seeing photographs of “the President and his family eating a big green salad and whole grains.”

A petition that the group mailed to the White House this week cites studies that link processed meats with colon cancer, as well as ties between meat or dairy-rich foods and expanding waistlines.

The petition charges, “all recent Presidents and both major parties” with staging photos that sends unhealthy messages.

At least one restaurant-backed group is blasting the petition, which has garnered nearly 1,200 signatures on the White House website since it was posted on Tuesday.

“PCRM is just another animal-rights group created to spread fear about perfectly safe food that’s not PETA-approved,” J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst with the Center for Consumer Freedom, said in a statement.

“PCRM’s Petition for Executive Action should be laughed right out of the White House,” the statement added.

First Lady Michelle Obama has made solving the problem of obesity the mission of her “Let’s Move” initiative, which aims to help children get fit by providing healthy food in schools and showing kids how to increase physical activity.