lating physical activity—as opposed to sedentary or passive-leisure pursuits—and portraying active living as a desirable social norm for adults and children.

Children’s health-related behaviors are influenced by exposure to media messages involving foods, beverages, and physical activity. Research has shown that television advertising can especially affect children’s food knowledge, choices, and consumption of particular food products, as well as their food-purchase decisions made directly and indirectly (through parents). Because young children under 8 years of age are often unable to distinguish between information and the persuasive intent of advertising, the committee recommends the development of guidelines for advertising and marketing of foods, beverages, and sedentary entertainment to children.

Media messages can also be inherently positive. There is great potential for the media and entertainment industries to encourage a balanced diet, healthful eating habits, and regular physical activity, thereby influencing social norms about obesity in children and youth and helping to spur the actions needed to prevent it. Public education messages in multiple types of media are needed to generate support for policy changes and provide messages to the general public, parents, children, and adolescents.

Recommendation 2: Industry

Industry should make obesity prevention in children and youth a priority by developing and promoting products, opportunities, and information that will encourage healthful eating behaviors and regular physical activity.

To implement this recommendation:

  • Food and beverage industries should develop product and packaging innovations that consider energy density, nutrient density, and standard serving sizes to help consumers make healthful choices.

  • Leisure, entertainment, and recreation industries should develop products and opportunities that promote regular physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors.

  • Full-service and fast food restaurants should expand healthier food options and provide calorie content and general nutrition information at point of purchase.

Recommendation 3: Nutrition Labeling

Nutrition labeling should be clear and useful so that parents and youth can make informed product comparisons and decisions to achieve and maintain energy balance at a healthy weight.

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