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Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?
cludes with a review of the international policy environment for policies relevant to food and beverage marketing to children and youth.
EDUCATION AND INFORMATION PROGRAMS AND POLICIES
Numerous education and information programs and policies are sponsored by government at every level and in many venues. At the federal level, these efforts are anchored in the principles set out in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, previously introduced in Chapter 2. This section describes several nutrition education and promotion efforts offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It also describes federal nutrition labeling policies designed to facilitate healthful food choices at the point of purchase.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid
The policy touchstones for federal education and information programs on nutrition are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and its graphic representation, MyPyramid. Jointly developed by the DHHS and USDA, the Guidelines were designed to move federal nutrition policy to a more explicit focus on chronic disease prevention. They are now legislatively mandated, revised every 5 years, and draw from the recommendations of a nonfederal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, constituted to review the most current scientific evidence and medical knowledge. The sixth edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released in 2005 and provide specific recommendations for physical activity, consumption of food groups, fats, carbohydrates, sodium and potassium, alcoholic beverages, and food safety (DHHS and USDA, 2005). Described in Chapter 2, the Dietary Guidelines provide the basis for the educational components of all 15 federal nutrition programs administered by the USDA. The USDA introduced the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992, in cooperation with the DHHS, as a graphic representation of selected Dietary Guidelines to help consumers better understand and select a balanced diet that promoted health and prevented chronic diseases. In 2005, the USDA took an additional step to personalize the guidance through an interactive food guidance system, MyPyramid, released to replace the existing Food Guide Pyramid (USDA, 2005f). MyPyramid offers recommendations tailored to the age and needs of the individual. This initiative includes an online educational tool to obtain information on an individual’s diet quality, related nutrition messages, and links to nutrition information (USDA, 2005f). A child-friendly version of MyPyramid was released to reach children ages 6–11 years with targeted messages about the importance of healthful eating