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AMA to the Seattle Times: Healthier childrens menus

July 17, 2011 (published)

Seattle Times
Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

More should be done

The American Medical Association (AMA) encourages healthy eating behaviors in children through corporate social responsibility, and has long recognized obesity as a major public-health concern [“Restaurants to make kids menus healthier,” News, July 14].

The Kids Live Well initiative takes a small step toward increasing healthy restaurant options for children, but much more should be done to improve the nutritional content for all children’s meal options.

Since 1980, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled — 17 percent of children and adolescents are now obese. The prevalence of obesity is even higher in adults, as 34 percent of the adult population is considered obese. As a result of this epidemic, treatment for obesity and its health consequences accounts for an astonishing $147 billion of our country’s annual health-care spending.

The AMA is committed to helping physicians address lifestyle behaviors with their patients, and supports efforts by restaurants to improve the nutritional quality of their menu offerings.

It is clear that we must take steps to help prevent and treat obesity — for the health of our families and the financial health of our nation.

Peter W. Carmel, MD
President, American Medical Association