LisaHughes

Senator Tom Harkin (IA) recently announced that he would not be seeking reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2014, ending a tenure of public service that began in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974, followed by election to the U.S. Senate in 1984. Senator Harkin can be cited as a champion of many important health issues – the Americans with Disabilities Act, embryonic stem cell research and medical research funding – to name just a few.

Another “champion” title appropriate for Senator Harkin is for his leadership efforts to fight childhood obesity and promote healthy living. In late January, at the beginning of the 113th Congress, he introduced the Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention America Act (HeLP America Act). The HeLP America Act is a comprehensive bill that would expand childhood obesity prevention efforts in schools, communities and workplaces and discourage companies from marketing unhealthy food to children. The bill would create pathways to increase access to nutrition information, promote physical activity and discourage tobacco use among children.

Some key nutrition provisions in the bill include:Harkin color-official-photo

  • Expanding the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that provides healthy fruit and vegetable snacks to children to all low-income elementary schools.
  • Calling on the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children to finalize and release model guidelines for food marketing to children.
  • Working toward a single front-of-pack labeling system for packaged foods.
  • Implementing guidelines for reducing the sodium content of processed foods and restaurant meals.
  • Providing healthier food options and calorie labeling for concessions and vending on federal property.
  • Improving access to healthy foods, including children’s meals, in national parks.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation looks forward to working with the Senator and partners in the health advocacy community to advance this legislation in Congress. You can show your support by contacting your Member of Congress and requesting that they cosponsor this bill. You can find information on how to contact your Federal elected officials by signing up for our Advocacy Action Center at www.preventcancer.org.