IOM Report on Childhood Obesity Calls for New Evaluation Methods
The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a division of the National Academy of Science, recently issued a new report on childhood obesity that examines the progress of obesity-prevention initiatives in the United States over the past two years. Echoing themes from an earlier IOM study, the 500-page report urges greater focus on evaluation and measurement to identify and expand successful strategies for addressing childhood obesity.
The report, "Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?", calls for an ongoing evaluation effort from government and industry, as well as communities, schools and individuals. In the report, IOM emphasizes the need to evaluate all policies and programs, monitor their progress, and disseminate information on promising practices.
"This report builds on the IOM's 2005 report, 'Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance,' which was mandated by Congress in response to the growing obesity epidemic," said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs."Many IDFA members already have taken steps that address the concerns raised in 2005, and this new report offers recommended approaches that industry can use to measure the success of those efforts."
Because the report mentions specific ways to measure progress in the food industry, there is the possibility that potential benchmarks could be established in the future. IDFA will continue to monitor any policy developments that pertain to obesity issues.
Identifying examples of progress, the 2006 report highlights the efforts by food industry leaders to develop new products and reformulate other products to provide healthier food options for consumers. These new products are more nutrient dense and include packaging options that offer portion control. The report also commends the industry's increased efforts to communicate the nutritional qualities of foods to consumers.
In the report, IOM proposes several measures for companies to use to assess which industry efforts are promoting healthier diets and lifestyles, including sharing research and best practices, establishing external advisory panels, and creating corporate positions to oversee the company's health and wellness activities.
To download a four-page summary of the report, click here.
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Posted October 2, 2006