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NATIONAL SUMMIT ON OBESITY POLICY CALLS FOR ‘CRITICAL AND REALIZABLE’ POLICIES

Leading authorities representing multiple disciplines and constituencies gathered in Washington, D.C., May 8 and 9 for the National Summit on Obesity Policy and developed a common federal agenda to fight the U.S. obesity epidemic. This agenda will become the central platform for the newly formed Collaborative Campaign to End Obesity (CCEO), through which thought leaders and advocates can work together to identify and press for policy changes that will reduce obesity in America.

“Best and Brightest” Leaders Identify Common Agenda

After hearing a number of distinguished speakers address the scope of problems and actions taken to date, more than 100 representatives from the public and private sectors, including government, medical, public health, industry research and other communities – some of which have not typically collaborated on federal policy messages – brain-stormed in small focus group sessions. From three core panels – Promoting Active Lifestyles, Promoting Better Nutrition and Change in the Health Care Sector –a consensus list of policies was identified that can be translated quickly into “critical and realizable” actions:

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Expand coverage for prevention, diagnosis and effective treatments of obesity.

This means no longer limiting such codes to the “morbidly obese” – patients who are 50%-100%, or 100 pounds, above their ideal body weight – as at present and reimbursing a comprehensive set of therapies with proven effectiveness.

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Increase federal support for research services focused on obesity.

This means supporting more funding for basic, clinical, epidemiological and health services research focused on obesity across all agencies of the federal government bringing it in line with investments made to address other major medical problems.

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Ensure that all foods in schools meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

This would update and strengthen the nutrition standards for all school foods, including meals and foods sold outside the federal meal programs such as those available through al a carte, vending, school stores and elsewhere on school grounds.

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Reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods and increase the marketing of healthy, culturally relevant foods.

This includes, among other specific policies, expanding nutrition education in federal food programs, school curriculum, and community programs.

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Increase physical activity in schools.

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