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Building Infrastructure to Document the US Food Stream

Gortmaker SL, Story M, Powell LM and Krebs-Smith SM. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44(2):192-193, 2013.

This commentary praises the detailed work of the article “Food Companies’ Calorie-Reduction Pledges to Improve U.S. Diet," which describes the independent evaluation of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) pledge to remove 1.5 trillion calories a year from the marketplace by the end of 2015. This calorie reduction compares to the number of calories sold in 2007. The companies set an interim goal of removing 1 trillion calories by 2012. 

The commentary notes the complexity and difficulty of measuring the U.S. food system and suggests that examining the entire stream of foods—from “farm-to-fork”—could help answer other questions with public health significance. This includes questions about disparities in food access and food prices, and issues of food waste.

The commentary concludes that the field of dietary surveillance has made great strides, but a coordinated effort between government and the food industry is needed to better understand how the U.S. food stream impacts our diets and our health.

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