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Let’s Talk Business: Let’s Move! Executive Director Talks to Key Industry Leaders

Facts are facts.

Briefing food industry leaders at the annual Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Policy Summit on Wednesday, Let’s Move! Executive Director, Sam Kass, painted a picture of the health of Americans:

Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let's Move! at the Grocery Manufacturers Association Growth and Public Policy Summit (Photo by Larry Levin)

  • 1 in 3 kids is overweight or obese and is on track to develop diabetes in his/her lifetime.
  • The estimated cost of obesity and related conditions is 21% of annual medical spending.
  • Over 1 in 4 deaths in America are related to our diet.

But despite the work that still needs to be done, he recognized the industry on the role they are playing in improving the health of our nation’s children, and urged them to keep pushing farther.

“I know for sure that we are going to solve this problem. There is simply too much at stake not to, and the truth is that although we have seen some real steps forward, innovations from the industry and some true leadership, the tangible actions from the industry have simply not matched the magnitude of the problem."

We know that the goal to end childhood obesity in one generation is a team effort. “Let’s Move! has been a call to action," said Sam, "and we are built on a premise that everyone has a role to play to improve the health of families, from healthcare providers, to schools, to mayors, to  parents, to the business community – we call on them to make crucial changes to support better nutrition and physical activity for our kids.”

Sam Kass explains data from a new University of Washington study on the importance of diet for healthy life (Photo by Larry Levin)

Sam also highlighted that, increasingly, what is good for the consumer is also good for business. Citing GMA’s own research, Sam emphasized encouraging trends, saying,

“Over 3500 products have seen reductions in calories and sugar content respectively. We are seeing a decline in sugar sweetened beverages, and those same companies have hundreds of products that are low or no-calorie that are seeing sustained growth. We are seeing fruit and vegetable sales increase last year by 6% combined, and … a number of studies showing that lower calorie products are outperforming less healthy options.”

Let’s Move! looks forward to continued collaboration with GMA and its members as we work together to build a healthier nation. And as he looked towards the future, Sam spoke of leveraging the influence and power of food marketing behind healthier products for the public.

“We need to work towards making sure the easy choice is the healthy choice for all American families,” said Sam. And, that’s a fact.