I have three things on my mind today.
Preventobesity.net is a free networking site sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, created to “provide support to all those working to change policies and environments to help children and families eat well and move more, especially in communities at highest risk for obesity." Check it out.
Something else of interest is this year’s recently released report, "F as in Fat," done by Trust for America's Health at http://healthyamericans.org/. The direct link for the report is at http://www.rwjf.org/files/research/tfahfasinfat2011a.pdf.
Last, over the past few weeks I have been having an email conversation with Tom Forsythe, Vice President of Corporate Communications at General Mills. It started out with an email I had sent via the Center for Science in the Public Interest asking General Mills to work with, not against, the proposed guidelines for marketing food to children. The Interagency Working Group responsible for these guidelines is comprised of representatives from the FDA, FTC, USDA, and the CDC, a combination I would certainly have faith in to come up with some good principles. Their guidelines can be found at:
Mr. Forsythe replied to me with a long list of why these guidelines were totally out of line. He mentioned two studies published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, based on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which he felt showed “that frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights overall, including kids who eat sweetened cereals.” I then asked for those studies’ citations and he actually sent them to me. [Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2003; 103: 1613-1619, and, Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2005; 105: 1383-1389. Be warned – they were both funded by General Mills.] I must give him credit for being willing to talk with me, a lowly consumer! However, those studies only showed that eating any cereal, rather than bacon, eggs, Pop-Tarts and pastries, was the healthier choice. Sorry, Mr. Forsythe, I’m not convinced.
My point here? The first email he sent to me, and everyone else who had originally emailed him through the CSPI, was very convincing, at least to the unsuspecting. The House of Representatives has already struck down the guidelines. What will the Senate do? What can we do?