tential tension among stakeholder groups, it is important to nurture and strengthen partnerships supporting obesity prevention efforts by

  • Conveying consistent, appealing, and specific messages to children, adolescents, and adults;

  • Ensuring transparency through the sharing of data between the public health community and industry;

  • Making long-term commitments to obesity prevention;

  • Ensuring company-wide commitments (large corporations in particular need to ensure that the entire organization and not just isolated sectors of the business is engaged in obesity prevention efforts);

  • Balancing the free market system with protecting children’s health. While public health advocates acknowledge the values and realities of the competitive marketplace and recognize that many companies are making positive changes, companies should accept responsibility for engaging in marketing practices that promote healthy lifestyles for children and youth;

  • Understanding the interactions between companies, marketing practices, and consumer demand;

  • Exploring potential avenues of impact. One area that has not been fully examined is the potential impact that business leaders can have in advocating for policy changes and initiatives that promote improvements in diet and increased levels of physical activity; and

  • Making a commitment to monitor and evaluate efforts.


Companies use a variety of integrated marketing strategies to influence consumer preferences, stimulate consumer demand for specific products, increase sales, and expand their market share. Integrated marketing is a planning process designed to ensure that all promotional activities of a company—including media advertising, direct mail, sales promotion, and public relations—produce a unified, customer-focused promotion message that is relevant to a customer and that is consistent over time. The allocation of companies’ marketing budgets differs on the basis of the nature and the size of the company. Food companies usually spend approximately 20 percent of their total marketing budgets for advertising, 25 percent for consumer promotion, and 55 percent for trade promotion (GMA Forum, 2005; IOM, 2006) (Box 5-3). The committee had no data with which it could assess how the leisure, recreation, and entertainment industries allocate their marketing budgets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which tracks trends in

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