Monday, January 25, 2016

DeLauro Statement on the World Health Organization's Final Report on Ending Childhood Obesity

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding the final report from the World Health Organization's Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity.

“The World Health Organization has confirmed what many of us already know to be true: the childhood obesity epidemic has reached new levels in the U.S. and around the world, and there are reasonable reforms that we can enact to change our course.

“I was pleased to see the final report come out with strong, common-sense solutions to address the childhood obesity epidemic. ECHO’s core recommendation for countries to implement a tax on sugar sweetened beverages would go far to discourage excessive consumption of these sugary drinks. Science shows that there is a clear link between sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic health conditions such as obesity and diabetes.

“For this exact reason, I introduced the SWEET Act, legislation that would tax sugar-sweetened beverages and raise revenue to fund initiatives for chronic disease prevention and treatment. The legislation would also utilize the revenue from the tax to increase access to healthy food in low-income neighborhoods and nutrition education—another solution the ECHO report strongly recommends. For far too long, Congress has been fanning the flames of the obesity epidemic with ineffective policies. Now is the time for Congress to be part of the solution and enact the SWEET Act.

“The report also makes meaningful recommendations to restrict marketing of unhealthy foods to children, which I am also fighting for through the Stop Subsidizing Childhood Obesity Act. We cannot successfully fight childhood obesity and diabetes if we are allowing food companies to continue to pour millions of dollars a year into marketing unhealthy, sugar-filled foods to our children at school, home, and the grocery store.

“Further, the report recommends easy-to-understand front of package labeling to help parents make better choices for their children’s meals and snacks. I have supported the Food Labeling Modernization Act and will continue to fight to make labels work for 21st Century families. We must give parents the tools they need to make healthy choices and this legislation is one of the easiest ways for us to do so.

“I applaud the World Health Organization for undertaking this challenge and standing up to the powerful special interests, including soft drink and snack companies. Now it is time for Congress to do the same and pass commonsense legislation to end this epidemic. Twenty years from now, when today's children are well into adulthood, we will look back and realize that we could have done more to stop this epidemic earlier. Our children deserve better.”

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