Dietetic association campaign to address childhood obesity

by Jeff Gelski
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CHICAGO — The American Dietetic Association and the A.D.A. Foundation plan to launch “Kids Eat Right,” a national campaign, during the A.D.A.’s 2010 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo Nov. 6-9 in Boston. The campaign will focus on three objectives: mobilize registered dietitians to participate in community and school efforts; educate children, families, communities and policy makers on the importance of nutritional foods; and support the recommendations of the White House Childhood Obesity Task Force by mobilizing A.D.A. members.

A “Kids Eat Right” web site will have the theme “Shop-Cook-Eat.” It will show how to shop for healthy foods, how to cook foods to gain the most nutrient value, how eating together may provide benefits and how to eat well away from home.

“’Kids Eat Right’ intends to both motivate and enable registered dietitians, the food and nutrition experts, to become involved in spreading a total nutrition message through childhood obesity prevention efforts in schools and communities,” said Judith C. Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and president of the American Dietetic Association. “In doing so, we can increase the national attention paid by families toward the consequences resulting from poor nutrition and malconsumption patterns in children.”

While many efforts to prevent childhood obesity have focused on reducing access to junk food and promoting fruit and vegetable consumption, focus also should be on addressing the lack of nutrients in most children’s diets, Ms. Rodriguez said.

“The majority of our nation’s youth consume calories at the top of the recommended range, yet fall short in meeting requirements in one or more nutrients that are critical to growth and development,” she said. “Consequently, our children are simultaneously over-fed with empty calorie food and drinks and undernourished. ‘Kids Eat Right’ aims to ensure quality nutrition for youth — that each child meets their nutrient requirements, gets adequate physical activity and maintains a healthy weight.”

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