Beating Obesity: 10 Ideas to Solve the Problem

Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic:

ScreenHunter_02 Apr. 21 08.08 1. Universal access to quality pre-and-post-natal care for mothers in chronically stressed, underserved communities. The correlations between a mother's nutrition consumption and how a child is nourished for the first year of life and obesity are quite strong. Pregnant women, particularly younger pregnant women, don't experience their pregnancy with any significant degree of social or community support; they don't nurse their child with access to health care, or to a support system or feedback system that guides them.

2. Congress should ask the Federal Trade Commission to begin a rule-making process to ban food companies from advertising unhealthy food to kids under 10 or 12. The industry will probably respond by establishing (another set of) voluntary guidelines, which will progressively tighten as the rule-making progresses. Make the implementation of the rule contingent of the industry coming up and complying with its own set of rules, and perhaps monitored by an independent panel appointed by the Institute of Medicine. If the industry resists, ban all food advertising aimed at kids, and aggressively enforce the ban. Drawing lines with be difficult, because one person's advertising “aimed” at kids could easily be claimed to be “aimed” at teenagers or adults. Come down on the side of the kids. Prevent ads from airing during “family” hours. Be creative. Let's have this debate again. Marketing practices need to be revised.

3. The government already highly regulates foodstuffs and the content of school lunches. The political will exists to streamline and clarify these regs, and to prevent food companies from finding loopholes. No new regulations are needed; regulations that comport with the 21st century reality of education are required. We can regulate less, if we want to, but regulate better, if we want to.

More here.