Institute of Medicine Committee Makes Recommendations To Address Issue of Childhood Obesity
The federal government should set nutritional standards for all food and beverages served on school grounds and encourage physical education and other programs to allow children to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, according to a report released Thursday by the Institute of Medicine, Reuters reports. A committee of 19 pediatricians, educators, industry experts and lawyers was appointed by the institute to study childhood obesity.
The panel found that nine million U.S. children over age six are considered obese. In addition, 52% of boys and 32% of girls ages 14 or older consume three or more eight-ounce servings of soda every day. The report "does not call for sweeping legislation but does propose some controversial moves such as clearer labeling requirements for junk foods and getting schools involved in monitoring students' weight and health," according to Reuters. Recommendations include the following:
- Schools should check students' weight annually;
- Restaurants should list calorie content and nutrition information of their food and work to provide healthy alternatives;
FDA should revise the Nutrition Facts panel on foods to "prominently display" the calorie content for the amount of food typically consumed at one sitting in addition to the standard calorie serving and percent Daily Value;
- Food manufacturers should be allowed to make more claims about healthful foods if evidence exists;
- Parents should encourage children to eat more healthfully and exercise while limiting to two hours or less a day the amount of time children use a computer or television; and
- Communities should work to change zoning so that walking and bicycling are more safe.