Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513 #00278

Submission Number:
00278
Commenter:
GAURI RAO
Organization:
PHFE WIC Program
State:
California
Initiative Name:
Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513

Dear Secretary Vilsack, Chairman Leibowitz, Director Frieden, and Commissioner Hamburg: Thank you for your efforts through the Interagency Working Group (IWG) to reduce unhealthy food marketing to children. I am in strong support of uniform food marketing standards that will prioritize children's health, support parents, and catalyze industry to take greater responsibility for marketing strategies. As a health professional working every day on the front lines of preventing illness, I am all too familiar with the toll that day-in and day-out marketing of unhealthful food has on children and families across the country. While the food and beverage industry pursues bigger profits, parents are expected to play defense in a world where food marketers have access to children in schools, in stores, on television, and online -- a world designed to make their kids consume junk food. Many of the parents do not understand the messages being promoted to children and think the cartooons etc. shown on television, and online are funny. However it encourages children to push their parents to make unhealthy purchases, that too at an expense some of them can ill afford. Parents can't do it all alone. Industry says they want to be part of the solution and these guidelines will help them do it. Strong standards on foods marketed to kids will shift the balance in the right direction--towards the health of children and families. I agree with IWG's requirement that foods marketed to children contain real-food ingredients like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while limiting harmful nutrients such as sodium, added sugar and saturated fat. I also strongly support the IWG's comprehensive view of marketing to children, covering the wide range of approaches companies use, including online and digital mechanisms. I thank the IWG for its strong nutrition and marketing guidelines, and urge you to finalize them by the end of the year. The health of America's children hangs in the balance, and I urge you not to bow to industry pressure when the stakes are so high. If France and some other European countries can take a higher moral ground for the health of their children and not allow advertising to children under 12, so can we. Sincerely, Gauri Rao