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Open Letter to US Health Officials on Curbing Junk Food Promotion

May 10, 2002

The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson
Secretary of Health and Human Services
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201
Via telecopier (202) 690-7203

RE: Joint WHO/FAO draft report on "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention
of Chronic Diseases"

Dear Secretary Thompson:

We are writing to urge you to support the joint World Health
Organization (WHO)/Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) draft report
and recommendations on "Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic
Disease." The draft report was issued on April 26, 2002.

As you know, United States citizens and people around the world are
suffering and dying from alarming rates of advertising-related and
diet-related chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus,
cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and stroke. These diseases are
frequently worsened by the marketing and consumption of too much
high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie junk food and foods of low
nutritional value, and the lack of physical exercise.

The joint WHO/FAO report encourages countries to adopt policies to
reduce the health toll of these chronic diseases. Such policies include
advertising restrictions, adequate food labeling, promotion of physical
exercise, increased nutritional education and restrictions on marketing
of junk food to schoolchildren.

The joint WHO/FAO draft report and policy recommendations will help
lessen the chronic disease burden both in the United States and across
the world. It deserves your strongest support.

Sincerely,

Peter Barnes, Co-founder, Working Assets
Charles Bell, Programs Director, Consumers Union
Stephen Bezruchka, MD, MPH, Affiliate Associate Professor, Department of
Health Services, School of Public Health and Community Medicine,
University of Washington
Kelly Brownell, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Yale University; Director,
Yale Center For Eating & Weight Disorders
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD, Executive Director, Citizens' Campaign for
Commercial-Free Schools
California Public Health Association - North
Joan Claybrook, President, Public Citizen
Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
Donald R. Davis, PhD, Research Associate in Nutrition, Biochemical
Institute, University of Texas
Montgomery Elmer, MD, President, Fox Valley Physicians For Social
Responsibility
Leon Eisenberg, MD, Professor of Social Medicine Emeritus, Harvard
Medical School
Cathey Falvo, MD, Program Director, International & Public Health,
School of Public Health, New York Medical College
Mike Feinstein, Mayor, City of Santa Monica
Green Party of the United States
Joan Gussow, EdD, M. S. Rose Professor Emeritus, Nutrition and
Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
R. Scott Hanson, MD, MPH, President, Rhode Island Public Health
Association
Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Science in the
Public Interest
Carden Johnston, MD, Chair, Task Force on Commercialism in the
Classroom, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Timothy J. Kasser, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Knox College
Dennis Keeney, Emeritus Professor of Agronomy and Agricultural and
Biosystems Engineering, Iowa State University
Michael Kieschnick, President, Working Assets
Ronald M. Krauss, MD, Senior Scientist, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory; Adjunct Professor of Nutritional Sciences,
University of California, Berkeley
Velma LaPoint, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Development, Howard
University
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College
Jane Levine, EdD, Founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
Susan Linn, EdD, Associate Director, Media Center of the Judge Baker
Children's Center; Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, Chief of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and
Women's Hospital; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
William J. McCarthy, PhD, Adj. Associate Professor of Psychology, UCLA
Bob McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
Robert McChesney, PhD, Research Professor, Institute of Communications
Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich
Media, Poor Democracy
Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington School
of Public Health and Community Medicine
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York
University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Research Professor & Associate Dean for
Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Ralph Nader
Marion Nestle, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition and Food
Studies, New York University; author, Food Politics
Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director, Physicians for Social
Responsibility-Los Angeles
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Sheldon Rampton, Editor, WWW.PRWATCH.ORG
John Rensenbrink, U. S. Representative, Global Green Network
Kyle Richmond, Supervisor, Dane County Board, District 27, Madison, WI
Mark Ritchie, President, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Dick Roy, Executive Director, Northwest Earth Institute
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
John Stauber, Executive Director, Center for Media & Democracy
Michael Traub, ND, President, American Association of Naturopathic
Physicians
Susan Villani, MD, Medical Director, Schools Programs, Kennedy Krieger
Institute; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University
Geoffrey Wilkinson, Executive Director, Massachusetts Public Health
Association

cc: The Honorable Kevin E. Moley, Permanent Representative of the US to
the European Union Office of the United Nations and other International
Organizations
Jack Chow, MD, U. S. Department of State
William R. Steiger, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
Derek Yach, MD, World Health Organization
Ann Blackwood, U. S. Department of State
David Fleming, MD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Eve Slater, MD, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
Bob Wood, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
David Hohman, U. S. Mission, Geneva
James Heiby, MD, U. S. Agency for International Development


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