WASHINGTON, DC – The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) issued the following statement today regarding the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on childhood obesity and advertising:
Obesity – especially childhood obesity – is a serious problem. That is why America’s food and beverage companies enthusiastically share First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation. All stakeholders – public health professionals, industry, parents, schools, government, communities and non-governmental organizations – must do their part if we are going to meet the First Lady’s goal.
The health and wellness of our consumers has always been a top priority, and we have accelerated our effort to help consumers build healthier lifestyles in recent years. We have:
- Changed more than 20,000 products to reduce calories, fat, sodium and sugar.
- Pledged to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015.
- Launched Nutrition Keys, a front-of-pack nutrition labeling initiative that will provide consumers – especially busy parents – with the tools and information they need to make informed decisions when they shop.
- Applied strict nutrition criteria to our advertising.
America’s pediatricians are on the front lines in the battle against obesity and in developing science-based and proven weight management strategies for their patients. Unfortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement on obesity and the media is based largely on outdated research that does not adequately reflect the current marketplace environment and trends.
Because of the robust voluntary standards adopted by America’s largest food and beverage manufacturers, the advertising landscape looks entirely different today that it did in 2005 when most of the studies used to support the AAP position were conducted.
The number of food and beverage ads seen on shows viewed primarily by children has decreased 50 percent since 2004. Ads for cookies and soft drinks fell by 96 percent. Ads for frozen pizza, gum, mints, candy waffles and pancakes each fell by at least 70 percent.
Much of this progress can be attributed to the commitment of those companies that make up the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). Under CFBAI (launched in 2006), seventeen of America’s largest food and beverage companies apply science-based nutrition standards to marketing viewed by children, including television advertising and digital media.
In addition, the AAP policy position stands in direct contrast to a 2005 Institute of Medicine study (Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance) that concluded, “…there is presently insufficient causal evidence that links advertising directly with childhood obesity and that would support a ban on all food advertising directed to children.”
The food and beverage industry looks forward to working with our nation’s healthcare providers to promote science-based, tried and true solutions to obesity. A healthy diet and more physical activity, rather than bans or restrictions, are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. America’s food and beverage companies will continue to provide consumers with the healthier product choices, tools and information they need to construct and maintain a healthy diet.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.
Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.
In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year. For more information visit www.gmaonline.org.