Today the Institute of Medicine released its report on what needs to be done. You can see the 475 page book which I embedded on my blogsite - to the right. I am most interested in chapter 6 which discusses the food and beverage environment. I am happy to see that some of my ideas are included here and that everything ties back to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Such as, limiting SoFas and adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains. There are some cool tables (calorie rec - p 163) and graphics (percent of Americans meeting those DGA goals - p 164) included. You can flip through the document or click this link if you prefer to go to the source.
I highlight that the recommendations address access to healthy foods by calling several sectors to action, i.e. private industry, governments, health care professionals and schools. There is mention of agricultural policies and evaluating the impact that they have on the American diet. Locally, zoning laws and tax incentives for fresh food retailers is advocated. I especially like that the IOM IS talking about taxing SSBs, limiting fast food restaurants in neighborhoods (per capita) and encouraging restaurants to lower the calorie content in the meals that they sell to children! The recommendations focus on ways to reduce the consumption of solid fats and added sugars through as many means as possible. There is also a push for doctors, dentists, nurses and registered dieticians to tell their patients that sugar sweetened beverages should be avoided.
I wanted to note that the obesity prevalence article used individual and state level factors to predict who would be overweight and in their report, the scientists mention the change in density of restaurants - i.e. the number of restaurants per 10,000 people - which the IOM is trying to get at with limiting them (through zoning). According to Finkelstein et al, there were 12 restaurants per 10,000 people in the year 2000 and a near doubling to 23 per 10,000 in 2008. Eating out is associated with over consumption of calories, esp. through high fat and high sugar foods and is considered a risk factor for obesity.
I may have some other tidbits from this report to offer at a later date, but I wanted to add a statement that is often repeated in the document. It is worth repeating verbatim.
If people are to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans' recommended food pattern/caloric intake for their age, sex and activity level, they must minimize their intakes of all solid fats and added sugars. (p 169)
By the way, the IOM report does define activity levels. See the notes under the table on p 163. The highest level noted was 'Active' as the equivalent of 3 miles of walking a day at a 15 to 20 minute per mile pace.
If you view the book here or on the host website, you can probably search by page number.