Childhood-Obesity Report Delayed Again

Government-Industry Task Force Needs a Few More Weeks to Get Children’s Activist Groups on Board

The report from the government-industry task force on obesity will not be released Wednesday, apparently held up by the inability to get children's activist groups to sign off on it. The task force said it would be a few more weeks.

It will be the second time the report has been delayed. It was originally scheduled for mid-July, but it was pushed back until September in part to allow some of the companies involved to unveil their own individual initiatives to cut the marketing fat.

According to several sources, the hold-up has been getting some of the children's activist groups on board, as they believe the recommendations don't go far enough.

Those are expected to parallel the already-announced efforts by one-dozen or so food companies and some programmers to create nutritional guidelines and not advertise foods that don't meet those guidelines in shows aimed at kids under 12.

Up until just a day or two ago, the office of Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who helped to launch the task force, was still expecting a press conference Wednesday, but after a number of drafts of a report had circulated among the members over the past few weeks, according to sources, it became clear that a consensus had not been reached.

A source familiar with a meeting of task-force participants Monday night said it was decided that "a few more weeks might result in more progress, or at least enough progress so that the ‘advocates’ will sign on to the task-force summary efforts.”

“This extension will allow the task force to build upon consensus items reached thus far," Brownback said, "and move toward our goal of developing bold and voluntary initiatives designed to achieve a healthier media environment that all segments represented by the task force can implement in order to protect the health of our nation’s children."

Both government and industry conceded that something needs to be done to help curb the rising childhood-obesity epidemic.