FTC Report Shows Food & Beverage Industry's Commitment to Health &Wellness: GMA

The Grocery Manufacturers Association said yesterday that the new Federal Trade Commission report, "Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents," reflects some of the enormous progress made in promoting healthier lifestyles for youngsters.

"The food and beverage industry has been working with policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, parents, advertisers, and other stakeholders in recent years to reform its marketing practices to promote nutritious choices and promote a healthier lifestyle," said association president and c.e.o. Cal Dooley. "While there is more work to be done, the FTC report confirms that industry's commitment, combined with voluntary marketing changes, is working."

According to the report, "[T]he food and beverage industries have made significant progress since the FTC and the Department of Health and Human Services co-sponsored the Workshop on Marketing, Self-Regulation & Childhood Obesity in 2005."

In that year the Institute of Medicine urged the food and beverage industry, policy makers, parents, schools, and the entertainment industry to take the lead in educating parents, caregivers, and children about healthful diets and lifestyles.

The following year, the Council of Better business Bureaus formed The Children's Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative, in which major companies pledged to devote most of their advertising to better nutrition and healthier lifestyles. There are currently 14 participants representing over two-thirds of children's food and beverage TV advertising expenditures in 2004.

"[The] report shows that the food and beverage industry has used its voice to spread the word about healthy eating and physical activity," noted Dooley. "Over the last five years, our industry has voluntarily changed its advertising and marketing practices, introduced or reformulated over 10,000 healthier products, and invested in physical activity promotion. Our efforts are having an impact, and we will continue to do our part."

For additional information on the food and beverage industry's commitment to health and wellness, including data and statistics, the GMA's "Industry Report on Health and Wellness" can be found at http://www.gmaonline.org/publications/docs/HealthWellness_07_FINAL.pdf.
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