By Guest Blogger David Pacheco

This post also appears on the Essential Nutrition Law Blog

It is hard to deny that Americans are putting on the pounds and that the problem is often starting with poor nutrition during childhood. The problem has not gone unnoticed and a number of organizations, including the federal government, are trying to trim down the epidemic.

Authors Ellen-Marie Whelan , Lesley Russell, and Sonia Sekhar of the Center for American Progress recently published the report, “Confronting America’s Childhood Obesity Epidemic: How the Health Care Reform Law Will Help Prevent and Reduce Obesity” (link to website introducing the report, with links to the full version and executive summary). As is clear from the title, the report analyzes the potential effect of the new health care reform laws on children’s nutrition. Specifically, the authors discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and highlight the following provisions as those with the most effective measures for combating childhood obesity:

•Improved nutrition labeling in fast food restaurants, which will list calories and provide information on other nutrients (For more information on this specific provision, take a look at Richard Goldfarb‘s excellent post with his thoughts on the new labeling requirement).

•The Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project, which gives grants to community-based obesity intervention programs

•Community Transformation Grants, which gives grants to community-based efforts to prevent chronic diseases

The report also analyzes a number of other aspects of the law that, while not targeted specifically at combating obesity, the authors believe will have some positive effect on the problem.