FoodFit Round Table

Welcome to the FoodFit Round Table—where experts speak out on food and health news.

THE TOPIC: Response to the Surgeon General's Call to Action on Overweight and Obestiy

While overweight and obesity are now at record high levels, our nation has also been given a tremendous opportunity to provide healthier lifestyle choices for consumers. This past December, the Surgeon General of the United States issued a Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity with the goal of triggering a national response. In order to combat this problem, which is associated with 300,000 U.S. deaths a year, both the public and private sectors need to be proactive.

FoodFit asked the experts:
How should those in the food and health sectors respond to the Surgeon General's Call to Action?

Ellen Haas
Founder and CEO,


To complement our nation's other investments in education, it makes sense to have the total school environment promote health. School administrators can help by encouraging student participation in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, enforcing existing regulations prohibiting serving foods of minimal nutritional value during mealtimes in school food service areas, and building in daily physical education and exercise at schools.

Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc, RD
Assistant Administrator for Human Nutrition
Agricultural Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture


We need to understand that food is not the problem, but the solution. The food industry needs to produce foods that are tasty, delicious and provide comfort to people, while helping them to achieve a healthy weight. These foods should be nutrient rather than calorie dense and need to be presented in a controlled portion that is satisfying to the consumer. Consumers also need to learn how to shop smart!

George Blackburn, MD, PhD
Associate Director of Nutrition
Harvard University Medical School
Boston, MA


Communication within the food industry, within the farming industry and within our education system...this country needs to be far better educated about the nutritional values and benefits of all that we eat and drink. At a young age, children should be introduced to the wonderful rewards of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains, as well as exercise. Nutrition education should be mandatory within our school system. Making healthy fast food that looks great and tastes the next challenge on my plate.

Bill Wavrin
Chef, Rancho la Puerta Spa
Baja, Mexico


An important recommendation in the report is that we need public-private partnerships, with representation from every sector of society, in order to address the problem. We need to consider the role of the individual as well as the role of society; we need to consider food intake as well as physical activity. In other words, we must bring people from different points of view together to develop creative solutions to this problem. Eating and being physically active should be fun and our challenge is to help people live a healthier lifestyle without losing the fun. What we most need are creative "success models" to show what works.

James O. Hill, PhD
Director, Center for Human Nutrition
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Denver, CO


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