Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513 #00282

Submission Number:
Miranda Walker
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 student studying public health, and a public health professional working every day with low-income teens, I not only see the maps and graphs showing the tremendous impact of obesity on our population, but also see the impact of obesity on the lives of the individual teenagers with whom I work. They are losing parents and grandparents to chronic diseases fueled by the unhealthy foods that are relentlessly marketed in their neighborhoods, and even at their young age, they themselves are suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions that will ultimately worsen and shorten their lives. Their eating habits reflect the norms established when they were younger children, and are based on the food that is accessible by them and marketed to them in their neighborhoods. 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. Please make it easier for parents, children, and families to make healthy choices. 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. Sincerely, Miranda Walker