Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Project No. P094513 #00336

Submission Number:
Sandi Stevens
South Heartland District Health Department
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 to provide our children with nutrition rather than provide large corporations with profits. 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. Unfortunately, 35% of the children in my community are overweight or obese. It is no wonder that our chileren are obese in a world where food marketers have access to children in schools, in stores, on television, and online to encourage them to consume junk food full of fats, sugars and chemicals. Parents generally have no idea what is in the foods that they are providing for their children they need to be armed with the information that they need to make good choices for their famalies. 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 and our countries future hangs in the balance, and I urge you not to bow to industry pressure when the stakes are so high. Sincerely, Sandi Stevens