The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has urged the food industry, government and schools to implement measures recommended in a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to help curb rising obesity rates.
The IOM issued a report last week in which it recommended a society-wide approach to tackle obesity, including reducing portion sizes, restricting food marketing to children, and cutting sugary drink intake, among a swathe of other measures.
"The IOM report provides an excellent blueprint for solving America’s costly obesity problem. But policy makers will have to invest both money and political capital to convert the advice into reality," said Michael Jacobson, CSPI executive director.
The CSPI favors levying a tax on sugary drinks to help cut consumption while funding other anti-obesity public health programs – a proposal that has been repeatedly attacked by the beverage industry as unfairly targeting one product.
"Congress should fund a multi-billion-dollar, multi-year anti-obesity program that includes national and local community and social-marketing campaigns,” Jacobson said. “That program could be funded with a significant tax on sugary beverages. The SNAP (food stamp) program should be improved by testing the effectiveness of excluding purchases of sugary beverages and providing a bonus for fruits and vegetables.”