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Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?
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 reinforced if not encouraged 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.