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Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
same priority as environmental and social justice issues and activities summarized in their corporate social responsibility reports.
APPLYING THE EVALUATION FRAMEWORK TO INDUSTRY
What Constitutes Progress for Industry?
To evaluate whether industry changes are shifting in a desirable direction to promote healthier diets and lifestyles, one must examine multiple types of available evidence to assess whether industry stakeholders are acting as collaborators and partners with other sectors and stakeholders in addressing childhood obesity prevention.
As described above, a systematic evaluation of the progress made by the leading 25 global food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants in responding to the recommendations of the WHO’s Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health was conducted (Lang et al., 2006). U.S. food and beverage manufacturers evaluated were The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods, Masterfoods/Mars, and PepsiCo; U.S. food retailers evaluated were Kroger and Wal-Mart; and the QSRs evaluated were McDonald’s Corporation, Burger King, and Yum! Brands. These companies are global marketplace leaders and have the ability to influence their entire sectors as role models for leadership and corporate social responsibility. The findings of the evaluation were based on the companies’ self-reporting systems, which had limitations because of the variable quality of the information that was publicly available. Additionally, independent assessments of the efforts by these companies are needed to enhance transparency and public accountability.
The categories of activities that were examined in the evaluation included the company’s business objectives and strategy; company operations; sales and market-share data; research and development and new product development; the company’s published policies and spending on advertising, marketing, promotion, and sponsorship; company’s position on corporate responsibility; the company’s position on diet, nutrition, physical activity, and commitment to changing product portfolios to increase the number and proportion of healthy products; the company’s position on product formulation and portion size, labeling, product nutrition information, and nutrition claims; stakeholder engagement; and whether the company promotes healthy lifestyles and physical activity internally and externally (Lang et al., 2006). The evaluation had four major conclusions. The food industry (e.g., manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants) should give higher priority to improve the profile of diet, physical activity, and health issues in corporate and sectoral business strategies; establish strategies, objectives, and indicators to internalize a health-promotion culture through-