NH Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease Applauds Foodmakers For Addressing Childhood Obesity

Nashua, NH (July 18, 2007)— The New Hampshire Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), a statewide coalition committed to making the issue of chronic disease the key health care issue in the 2008 presidential election, applauded today’s decision of 11 major national food makers to place voluntary controls on marketing to children by the end of 2008.

The 11 food and drink companies, which make up approximately two-thirds of all of the food industries’ television advertising dollars aimed at children, will refrain from advertising items that don’t meet a specific level of nutritional value to children under the age of 12. The target nutritional value level will vary among the companies but all will be based on the 2005 United States Dietary Guidelines set by the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. A few of the companies will take their shift in advertising a step further, using popular advertising cartoon characters to pitch their healthier products.

“I am pleased to see some of the leaders in the food industry taking this first step in addressing the national epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Michael Norklun, a lead PFCD partner and CEO of the YMCA of Concord. “The dramatic increase in childhood obesity over the past twenty years and the effects it has on the long-term health of the population is devastating. It is my hope that this is the beginning of a trend of chronic disease prevention measures being taken by key individuals in the position to make a real difference.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of overweight children in the United States has tripled since 1980 — and the percentage of obese New Hampshire residents has doubled since 1990, from 11 percent to 22 percent in 2006. Approximately 42,000 New Hampshire children (about 12 percent) suffer from a chronic health condition — and at least 10,000 of these children suffer from severe to life-threatening illnesses.

The 11 companies involved in the voluntary advertising restrictions are: McDonalds USA, General Mills, PepsiCo, Kellogg Co., Walt Disney Co, Kraft Foods Inc., Cadbury Adams USA LLC, The Coca-Cola Co., The Hershey Co., Unilever, and Masterfoods USA.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a national bipartisan coalition of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the #1 cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs in the U.S.: chronic disease .

The PFCD’s mission is to:

§ Challenge policymakers – in particular, the 2008 presidential candidates – to make the issue of chronic disease a top priority and articulate how they will address the issue through their health care proposals

§ Educate the public about chronic disease and potential solutions for individuals, communities, and the nation

§ Mobilize Americans to call for change in how policymakers, governments, employers, health institutions, and other entities approach chronic disease

New Hampshire PFCD Partners include: AIDS Services for the Monadnock Region, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America / New England Chapter, Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, Chronic Conditions Information Network of Vermont and New Hampshire, City of Manchester Health Department, Council for Children and Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions, Greater Concord YMCA, Greater Keene YMCA, Greater Manchester YMCA, Greater Nashua YMCA, Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire, New England Clinicians Forum, New Hampshire Action for Healthy Kids, New Hampshire Arthritis Foundation, New Hampshire Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, New Hampshire Catholic Charities, New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities, New Hampshire for Health Care, New Hampshire Independent Pharmacists Association, New Hampshire Kidney Foundation, New Hampshire Pharmacists Association, New Hampshire Retired Educators Association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Retired Chapter of the State Employees Association, SEIU Local 1984 and SkiNH.

For more information about PFCD, please visit: www.fightchronicdisease.org.