Eleven big food companies, including McDonald’s, Pepsi Co. and General Mills, have all agreed to stop advertising products to children under 12 that do not meet certain nutritional requirements.
The move is a positive step, says Connie Diekman, director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis and current president of the American Dietetic Association. Her commentary is below.
Editor’s note: Diekman is available for phone, e-mail and broadcast interviews. Washington University has VYVX and ISDN lines available free for news interviews.
“The willingness of companies to work to help families make better food choices is to be commended,” she says. “Making changes in which products are marketed and how they are marketed is a first step in changing what families purchase. The next step is for companies, communities, health care providers and schools to educate families about the basics of healthy eating so that they can continue to make wise food choices.”
Diekman adds that the more companies recognize that consumers want healthier options, the easier it will be for them to start integrating and promoting those options. “The next step in this process is for consumers to step up and thank companies for these changes and express interest in more healthy options,” she says.
“Parents need to model healthier behaviors including what foods they purchase but how active they are. Getting kids up and moving is just as important as buying healthier food options.
“As a registered dietitian I thank these 11 companies for recognizing their role, and showing their willingness, to work with those of us who provide nutrition education to make eating easier, healthier and enjoyable,” Diekman says.