(Reuters) - A new report from the U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests local governments adopt a mixture of taxes, incentives and new zoning policies to fight childhood obesity.
Here are some of the proposed actions in the report:
To encourage healthier eating:
* Use tax credits, grant and loan programs, small business and economic development programs to attract supermarkets and grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods.
* Realign public transportation to serve grocery stores and supermarkets.
* Use grants or loans to help small retailers buy refrigeration equipment to store fruits and vegetables.
* Require calorie information on restaurant menus. Offer incentives for restaurants that promote healthier options.
* Encourage farmers markets to accept food stamps and other vouchers.
* Tax soft drinks.
To encourage exercise:
* Adopt a pedestrian and bicycle master plan.
* Plan, build and maintain a network of sidewalks and street crossings.
* Plan, build and retrofit streets to reduce vehicle speeds, accommodate bicyclists, and encourage walking.
* Increase destinations within walking and bicycling distance.
* Collaborate with school districts and developers to build new schools within walking distance of homes.
* Adopt community policing strategies that improve safety of streets, especially in higher crime neighborhoods.
* Build and maintain parks and playgrounds that are safe and attractive.
* Improve access to public and private recreational facilities.
* Create after-school activity programs such as dance classes.
Editing by Todd Eastham
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