US Institute of Medicine makes food marketing recommendations
The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) just released a 462-page Report entitled: “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation” drafted following a request from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
IOM welcomes industry self-regulatory initiative in advertising to children (such as the Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative) but calls for stricter guidelines which apply to all food products, on all media, as well as for the extension of the guidelines to the age of 17 and for a more extensive membership.
It states that if stricter marketing standards have not been adopted within two years by a substantial majority of food, beverage, restaurant, and media companies, policy makers should consider setting mandatory nutritional standards for marketing to people aged 2-17.
Key Recommendations (divided in 5 broad themes) include:
1. Integrate physical activity every day in every way
2. Market what matters for a healthy life
o The food and drink industry should develop and promote a variety of beverage options for consumers, including a range of healthy beverage options, beverages with reduced sugar content, and smaller portion sizes (for example, 8-ounce containers)
o Chain and quick-service restaurants should substantially reduce the number of calories served to children and substantially expand the number of affordable and competitively priced healthier options available for parents to choose from in their facilities (through a joint effort modelled after the Healthy Weight Commitment initiative) and by making half of all children’s meals consistent with the food and calorie recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for moderately active 4- to 8-year-olds).
o The access to sugar-sweetened beverages should be banned in schools
o Substantial and specific excise taxes should be introduced on sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g.: cents per ounce of liquid, cents per teaspoon of added sugar), with the revenues being dedicated to obesity prevention programs
o Social marketing campaigns aimed at reducing overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages should be developed
o The report welcomes the individual evaluation of the Healthy Weight Commitment (started in 2010) to study calorie sources and eating pattern shifts which shows that work is under way to measure progress.
3. Make healthy foods and beverages available everywhere
o All foods and beverages marketed to children aged 2-17 should support a diet that accords with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
o The standards set for foods and beverages marketed to this age group should apply to a broad range of marketing and advertising practices, including digital marketing and the use of licensed characters and toy premiums. If such marketing standards have not been adopted within two years by a substantial majority of food, beverage, restaurant, and media companies that market foods and beverages to children and adolescents, policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels should consider setting mandatory nutritional standards for marketing to this age group
o The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and National Restaurant Association Initiative are encouraging but food marketing targeting children and adolescents continues to heavily promote products high in sugar, fat, and sodium. The industry should adopt common marketing standards on all media and for all member companies, extend the guidelines to the age of 17, and actively recruit additional members
o Media companies should adopt nutrition standards for all foods they market to young people
o The Federal Trade Commission should regularly track industry’s marketing standards
o The FDA and USDA should adopt a single standard nutrition labelling system for all fronts of packages and retail store shelves and consider making it mandatory
o Restaurants should implement the FDA regulations that require restaurants with 20 or more locations to provide calorie labeling on their menus and menu boards.
4. Activate employers and health care professionals
5. Strengthen schools as the heart of health
IOM released an Infographic with its report.
Reuters is one of a number of newswires to have already covered the report.
Source: World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)