Nutrition :: GMA statement regarding IOM Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools Report

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) issued the following statement from GMA senior director of nutrition and health policy, Alison Kretser, MS, RD, regarding the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report entitled Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools:

“GMA and its member companies are committed to improving the health and wellness of our consumers, and believe schools are a vitally important component in the fight against pediatric obesity. We thank the Committee for its focus on children?s health and wellness, and look forward to working with the Committee and other stakeholders to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in the U.S. and around the globe.

“Promoting health and wellness is a top priority for the food and beverage industry, and we have made great strides in providing parents and children with the tools they need to decrease and prevent obesity. For instance:

Many food and beverage companies, large and small, have voluntarily established new national guidelines that substantially improve the nutritional content of the foods and beverages that are sold in schools. Under the policies, foods and beverages sold in schools will be age-appropriate and comply with specific criteria regarding calories, sugar, sodium and trans and saturated fats.

Since 2002, food and beverage companies have developed and marketed 10,000 new and reformulated products with improved nutritional profiles, including smaller portion sizes, less calories, sugar, trans and saturated fats, and sodium. These portion-controlled and healthier options substantially improve the ability of educators and parents to provide healthier options both at school and at home.

Many food companies have established or invested in programs that educate consumers -especially children – on the components of a healthy lifestyle, including proper diet and daily physical activity.

“The food industry is eager to help fashion bold, new and innovative approaches to the complex problem of obesity, and believe that schools are uniquely positioned to provide the proper direction and support as a partner in the fight against obesity. To maximize the impact our schools can play in preventing and reducing obesity, the IOM and other stakeholders should view our schools as a holistic platform for changing the habits of our young people:

Foods and beverages available as part of the school breakfast and lunch program should be based on the federal government?s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Food and beverage offerings outside of the school meals program should be based on the Dietary Guidelines, and their availability should be stratified by grade level, recognizing the ability of children to make knowledgeable choices about their diets as they grow older.

As part of their health and wellness policies, all schools should bolster their physical education and nutrition education curriculum.

“Viewing schools as a holistic platform for educating children on the best ways to live a healthy lifestyle, not simply as a place to ban or restrict the availability of certain foods, is the pathway to success. Today’s IOM report shines an important spotlight on the issue of obesity, but ignores the tremendous progress that has been made in recent years in improving the school food environment ? changes that were developed as the result of dialogue and collaboration between the food industry, educators, parents and health groups.

“We look forward to working with the IOM, Congress, educators, parents and a wide array of stakeholders to develop thoughtful and meaningful school food policies.”

Leave a Comment