Grocery Manufacturers of America Director of Scientific and Nutrition Policy Lisa Katic has pledged the food industry's continued support to address the nation's obesity problem and outlined five vital components to address the issue. Her comments were part of testimony scheduled for delivery on December 8, the second day of the two-day meeting of the Surgeon General's Initiative toward a National Action Plan on Overweight and Obesity.

The Surgeon General has identified obesity as a serious U.S. health problem and has asked non-profits, industry, government and academia to help design successful prevention strategies and to promote healthier lifestyles.

Katic identified what GMA believes to be the five vital areas that the National Action Plan must address: Incorporate physical activity and nutrition education in our nations schools; continue to find additional ways to encourage people to incorporate physical activity in our daily lives; educate the public on the connection between calories consumed and calories burned; raise consumer awareness of proper serving sizes; and address the needs of different population subgroups.

To advance these goals, GMA has already devoted substantial resources toward understanding and trying to influence the obesity among adults and children. Katic outlined some of the efforts already underway.

"The Childhood Obesity Prevention Initiative (COPI) strives to create an integrated campaign to assist families in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors to prevent obesity. This program seeks to work with existing community-based programs, and develop additional measures, whereby communication is targeted toward the growing number of ways in which families and their children received information," Katic testified.

"The Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living (PPLEAL) is another industry-initiated effort to identify and execute key strategies for reaching people on the importance of taking action to avoid obesity," added Katic. "This initiative is unique in that representatives from industry, non-profit, government and academia are all working together to seek creative solutions to address this problem.

"GMA members have long shared a commitment to the importance of sound nutrition and health practices of consumers. Working together, we are optimistic that a multi-disciplinary approach can be fashioned that will be effective in positively influencing consumer lifestyle choices and their overall health," concluded Katic.

 

GMA is the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies. With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states. The organization applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry. Led by a board of 42 Chief Executive Officers, GMA speaks for food and consumer product manufacturers at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues. The association also leads efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer products industry.