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Food Giants Fight Proposed Nutrition Guidelines

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page, Appetite For a Change page, and our Food Safety Research Center page.
An effort by four federal agencies to limit marketing of junk food to children has provoked a fight between the packaged food industry and public health groups as intense as the cigarette wars of the 1980s.

The agency guidelines, ordered by Congress in 2009, are due this month after a 1 1/2-year delay. They will be scaled back after a ferocious lobbying campaign by food manufacturers who fear that Twinkies are fast becoming the next tobacco.

The stakes are high, both for the $1 trillion food industry and for public health groups alarmed by Americans' growing girth. Whether a child develops a taste for fruit or Froot Loops can establish lifelong eating patterns that translate to billions of dollars in sales of packaged foods and potentially devastating consequences for public health.

A third of poor preschoolers are now obese by age 5. Obese children are likely to become obese adults, at higher risk of having diabetes, heart disease and other chronic and costly ills.


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