The White House has laid out a comprehensive strategy that if made a national priority and implemented should reduce obesity. From urging companies to improve restaurant children’s meals and reduce unhealthy food marketing to getting good food in and junk food out of schools, the recommendations are bold, simple, and more important achievable by this great country.
The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity’s report is easy to read and contains much information that needs to be better distilled down to the common folks. The report reflects input from 12 federal agencies as well as the 2,500 submissions we got from parents, teachers, doctors, nurses and others.
The report includes 70 recommendations for public and private sector action, as well as concrete metrics and benchmarks to measure our progress towards our goal. In broad terms, the report makes recommendations in 5 key areas:
- Getting children a healthy start on life, with good prenatal care for their parents; support for breastfeeding; limits on “screen time”; and quality child care settings with nutritious food and ample opportunity for young children to be physically active.
- Empowering parents and caregivers with simpler, more actionable messages about nutritional choices based on the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans; improved labels on food and menus that provide clear information to help make healthy choices for children; reduced marketing of unhealthy products to children; and improved health care services, including BMI measurement for all children.
- Providing healthy food in schools, through improvements in federally-supported school lunches and breakfasts; upgrading the nutritional quality of other foods sold in schools; and improving nutrition education and the overall school environment.
- Improving access to healthy, affordable food, by eliminating “food deserts” in urban and rural America; lowering the relative prices of healthier foods; developing or reformulating food products to be healthier; and reducing the incidence of hunger, which has been linked to obesity.
- Getting children more physically active, through quality physical education, recess, and other opportunities in and after school; addressing aspects of the “built environment” that make it difficult for children to walk or bike safely in their communities; and improving access to safe parks, playgrounds, and indoor and outdoor recreational facilities.