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Press Release

ADA Supports White House Childhood Obesity Task Force Recommendations

2010-05-17

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – Recommendations of the newly released report of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity provide a strong blueprint for meeting the Obama Administration’s goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation, according to the American Dietetic Association.

The report contains 70 specific recommendations for action at the federal level and by the private sector, state and local leaders and parents.

“The American Dietetic Association is a strong supporter of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative and the interagency White House task force,” said registered dietitian and ADA President Jessie M. Pavlinac. “ADA submitted detailed comments to the task force on ways to best address childhood obesity in the home, in schools, in the community and in legislatures and agencies.”

The report’s recommendations will do much, if and when they are implemented, to solve this nationwide problem, Pavlinac said. “In addition, expanding registered dietitians’ involvement as providers of nutrition information and education in child obesity reduction and prevention programs will be vital to achieving the recommendations.”

Among the task force’s recommendations, Pavlinac highlighted several as especially important for children’s nutritional health:

  • Getting children a healthy start on life through good prenatal care for their parents; support for breast feeding; and high-quality child-care with nutritious food and opportunities for children to be active
  • Improving labels on food and menus that provide clear information to help parents make healthy choices for children
  • Providing healthy food in schools through improvements in federally supported school lunches and breakfasts; upgrading the nutritional quality of other foods sold in schools; and improving nutrition education and the overall health of the school environment
  • Improving access to healthy, affordable food by eliminating “food deserts” in urban and rural America
  • Getting children more physically active through physical education, school recess and other opportunities in and after school.

Let’s Move! has four “pillars,” to which each of the task force’s recommendations relate:

  1. Getting parents more informed about nutrition and exercise
  2. Improving the quality of food in schools
  3. Making healthy foods more affordable and accessible for families
  4. Focusing more on physical education.

“Many of ADA’s activities, initiatives, expertise and resources already align closely with each of these pillars. ADA looks forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administration on making the goals of Let’s Move! and the Task Force’s recommendations a reality for all Americans,” Pavlinac said.

ADA and our Foundation are helping meet the goals outlined in the task force’s report, and we are realizing measurable results in child and family nutrition,” Pavlinac said. “We use the knowledge, skill and commitment of registered dietitians to create solutions that help lead to healthy weights for children. And we have evidence of the value of registered dietitians involvement in programs that help children eat well and get and stay healthy.”

For example, the Healthy Schools Partnership, an innovative partnership of the ADA Foundation, American Council for Fitness and Nutrition and PE4life, helps children change their eating behaviors with one-on-one sessions with registered dietitians known as RD Nutrition Coaches during physical education classes. For the past three years, the HSP has seen remarkable results in changing eating behaviors of students, both at school and at home. More than 2,000 children at Kansas City, Mo., inner-city grade schools have participated. This year, the program expanded to Des Moines, Iowa, where more than 1,000 fourth-through-sixth-grade students are involved, with an added focus on physical activity and the home environment. The Des Moines program was visited in late April by Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the former First Lady of Iowa.

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The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.