September 20, 2005

Legislative Activity

September 20, 2005

To: AAF Advertising Clubs and Federations

From: Clark Rector, Senior Vice President-Government Affairs Jeff Perlman, Executive Vice President-Government Affairs

Re: Important Information Request

The proportion of overweight and obese Americans has risen significantly in past years. Particularly alarming are the rising rates in children.

The advertising industry and food manufactures are leading the way in addressing this crisis. The Ad Council has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services to sponsor the "Small Steps" PSA campaign educating Americans on easy ways to help control their weight. They also are working with Sesame Workshop to tailor the campaign to children.

Food manufacturers have, in the past three years, introduced 4,500 new or reformulated products with improved nutritional profiles, many of which have lower calories and/or fats. Of course, advertising is the most efficient way to educate the public about these new products.

Not surprisingly, some policymakers point to advertising as a causal factor for the increasing rates of obesity and overweight. AAF disagrees with that view, but we do know that advertising can and will be part of the solution.

We believe there are numerous local and regional PSA campaigns across the country, addressing obesity and other health related issues. It is important that lawmakers know about them, too. Please let us know if your advertising club is, or has, conducted such a campaign. We would also appreciate knowing of campaigns conducted by other organizations as well.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at 800-999-2231 or