marketing on the dietary practices and health status of children and youth in the United States.

Recommendation 10: The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) should designate a responsible agency, with adequate and appropriate resources, to formally monitor and report regularly on the progress of the various entities and activities related to the recommendations included in this report.

To implement this recommendation

  • The Secretary should consult with other relevant cabinet officers and agency heads (e.g., U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission) in developing and implementing the required monitoring and reporting.

  • Within 2 years, the Secretary should report to Congress on the progress and additional actions necessary to accelerate progress.

The review and recommendations presented in this report are anchored in the presentation and interpretation of the evidence. This was the central charge to the committee, and the effort represents the most comprehensive and rigorous review of existing scientific literature done to date. It is important to point out that the committee was not charged with, nor did it engage in, addressing some of the broader philosophical, social, and political issues related to food and beverage marketing to children and youth. Perspectives about basic responsibilities to shepherd the welfare of those most vulnerable or impressionable, conjecture about insights from studies not yet done or information not available on the strength of relationships between marketing and behavior of children and youth, and social urgency prompted by the rapidly increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, all are legitimate and important matters for public discussion. But they were not central features of the committee’s charge or work. Neither was the related, but vital, matter of physical activity, which is so inextricably a part of the challenge of childhood obesity. What the committee can contribute to the ongoing and imperative public policy questions raised by this challenge is to conclude, based upon a thorough and impartial review of existing scientific data, that the dietary patterns of our children and youth put their health at risk, that the patterns have been encouraged and reinforced by prevailing marketing practices, and that the turnaround required will depend upon aggressive and sustained leadership from all sectors, including the food and beverage industries. This is a public health priority of the highest order.

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