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MediaWeek reports that ABC’s “Good Morning, America” is teaming up with America Online for a nation weight loss program that is aimed at helping Americans lose a total of 50 million pounds.

Segment on “GMA” will be keyed to online postings about diet and exercise techniques.

• The New York Times reports that “as major food producers face scrutiny over their role in contributing to increasing childhood obesity rates, they are under pressure to make fundamental shifts in the way they sell their products to American children.

“Kraft and PepsiCo have created rating systems to designate healthier foods. McDonald's said it would begin printing detailed nutrition information on its packaging in February.”

However, while a recent Institute of medicine study suggested that what the nation really needs is an industry-wide rating system that would define and identify healthy foods, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is lobbying against the creation of any such system, citing antitrust law as a possible obstacle.

However, the NYT suggests that there may not be unanimity within GMA’s ranks. “The food industry is divided over how it should respond,” the Times writes. “General Mills and Kellogg, which derive a large part of their revenue from products aimed at children, are resisting changing many of their practices. Kraft and PepsiCo, whose products are aimed at a broader section of consumers, seem more willing to adapt.”
KC's View:
It seems to us that retailers ought to be embracing these kinds of opportunities, looking for ways to create programs that help people get healthier. Maybe it is diet-and-exercise support groups, maybe it is defining which products are nutritious if manufacturers are unwilling to do so.

Timidity in the face of such opportunity seems foolish.