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“Read the Label” Campaign Helps Kids Understand Nutrition Impacts of Eating

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

FDA Employs Outreach Effort to Engage Kids in Using Nutrition Facts Label

When trying to help young people understand the importance of healthy food choices, we often focus on getting them to eat healthier foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, or we look at educating them about where their food comes from and how to cook healthy meals. But an often overlooked opportunity is that of educating young people about how to read food nutrition labels.

Nutrition Facts labels are found on packaged foods sold and distributed in the United States and were originally drawn up in the early 1990s as an important tool to guide consumer food choices, allowing them to see at a glance things like calorie counts, sodium content and fat grams. Knowledge is power, and while these labels were not perfect in their construction, they did arm consumers with more information about the health content of the foods they were consuming.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to revamp the Nutrition Facts labels to make them easier to read and understand. The effort would be the first significant redrawing of the labels in nearly 20 years and is seen by many as a step in the right direction as the country continues to struggle with a ballooning obesity crisis. While proposed set of revisions to the labels – things like making calorie counts more prominent or requiring information about added sugars – are likely to going to take some time to implement, now is as good a time as any to introduce youth to the existing Nutrition Facts labels so that they can become better aware of how much and what they’re eating.

To assist with this effort, the FDA has rolled out a “Read the Label” outreach campaign with tools and resources to support kids, families and community leaders in better understanding these labels and how to use them to make healthier food choices.

The FDA’s website features educational videos, infographics, tools and activities in both English and Spanish that can be used by a variety of educators and audiences – from kids to parents to health educators and community outreach leaders.

As the debate around the USDA’s nutrition standards in schools continues to roll on, we thought it was important to continue the education of young people around healthy food choices and to make others aware of these tools that can support a greater understanding of nutrition in foods.

Visit the FDA’s Read the Label Outreach Campaign website

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