Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513 #00284

Submission Number:
Maria Jose Hummel
Salud Para La Gente
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. As a nutritionist and health educator, 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. Working as a nutritionist in a Federally Qualified Health Center, I have the opportunity to witness first hand the damaging effect of the marketing tactics used to promote unhealthy eating. I work with children of all ages, many of whom suffer from conditions that in the past were only seen in middle age adults, such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. The childhood obesity epidemic is rampant in the community where I work. I am deeply concerned for the health and the future of some of the patients I see at the clinic. 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. Unfortunately, most of the parents I worked with do not have the level of education or knowledge about health necessary to counteract all those marketing tactics for themselves, let alone their children. 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,