American Heart Association Praises IOM's National Approach to Obesity Epidemic

May 08, 2012 Categories: Advisories & Comments, Advocacy News
Washington, D.C., May 8, 2012 American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following statement today on the Institute of Medicine’s new report, “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention”:
 
“Once again, we commend the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for keeping the obesity epidemic front and center in our national dialogue on health. As this report makes clear, the prevention of obesity requires more than individual efforts to eat right and exercise. It requires a concerted effort by all Americans at every level of society.
 
The five concrete goals outlined in this report are:  making physical activity routine; creating food and beverage environments where healthy choices are easy; transforming messages about exercise and nutrition; expanding the role of health care professionals; and ensuring schools are the central focus of obesity prevention.  All five must be pursued fervently if we as a nation are to triumph over obesity. Many strategies are already being deployed by the American Heart Association and our public health partners at the individual, community, state, local and federal levels.
 
Our organization has long been committed to raising the public’s awareness about the powerful link between obesity and cardiovascular disease. To help combat this epidemic, the association works to educate the public on the benefits of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. American Heart Association initiatives, such as My Heart. My Life., give Americans in communities nationwide solutions on their journey to better health – including hundreds of walking clubs, thousands of walking paths, and Teaching Gardens in more than one 120 elementary schools that inspire kids to eat more fruits and vegetables at formative ages.
 
At the state and local levels we work to build healthy communities that guarantee opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy food where Americans live, work, play, and learn.  This includes ensuring that every child gets daily physical education and recess in schools, as well as nutritious meals and snacks.  We also work to make certain that neighborhoods have grocery stores and that the default food choice is the healthy choice at any corner store.
 
Similarly, at the federal level the association works to promote physical activity in schools, and advance better food marketing guidelines, as well as food and menu labeling. We support nutrition programs in the Farm Bill reauthorization, work to secure funding for programs like Safe Routes to Schools that create more active environments, and we provide guidance to employers on the use of financial incentives in workplace wellness programs. We strongly support federal funding for prevention initiatives at the state and local levels, and new preventive benefits made available through the Affordable Care Act.
 
Until we stamp out obesity, we will never be free of heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association believes that it is absolutely essential that we align our forces and bridge our differences if we are to effectively address this daunting challenge to our nation’s health. The IOM report helps set us on the path to conquering this frightening epidemic.”
 
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Media Contact: Retha Sherrod, (202) 785-7929; retha.sherrod@heart.org