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Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance
between different types and portion sizes of food, and permitting health claims that specifically relate reduced calorie consumption to decreasing the risk of obesity-related diseases (FTC, 2003).
The committee encourages the FDA to examine ways to give the food and beverage industries greater flexibility in making nutrient content and health claims that help consumers including children achieve and maintain energy balance. The committee also recommends that consumer research be undertaken to determine the best formats for health claims that relate lowered calorie consumption with reductions in the risk of obesity and obesity-related disease. Finally, the committee suggests that the government, academia, and private sector work together to conduct the necessary research on which to base such health claims.
Recommendation 3:Nutrition Labeling
Nutrition labeling should be clear and useful so that parents and youthcan make informed product comparisons and decisions to achieve andmaintain energy balance at a healthy weight.
To implement this recommendation:
The FDA should revise the Nutrition Facts panel to prominently display the total calorie content for items typically consumedat one eating occasion in addition to the standardized calorie servingand the percent Daily Value.
The FDA should examine ways to allow greater flexibility inthe use of evidence-based nutrient and health claims regarding thelink between the nutritional properties or biological effects of foodsand a reduced risk of obesity and related chronic diseases.
Consumer research should be conducted to maximize use ofthe nutrition label and other food-guidance systems.
ADVERTISING, MARKETING, AND MEDIA
Children of all ages are spending a larger proportion of their leisure time using a combination of various forms of media, including broadcast television, cable networks, DVDs, video games, computers, the Internet, and cell phones (Roberts et al., 1999; Rideout et al., 2003). This trend has prompted concerns about the effects of these activities on their health (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004). Children’s exposure to advertising and marketing, particularly to the food, beverage, and sedentary-lifestyle messages delivered through the numerous media channels, may have a strong influence on their tendency toward increased obesity and chronic disease risk (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004).