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Published in Print: September 29, 2004, as Atkins Diet Company, School Groups Team Up

Atkins Diet Company, School Groups Team Up

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The company founded by the late diet guru Dr. Robert C. Atkins announced last week that it’s getting into the business of influencing education policy.

Atkins Nutritionals Inc. said on Sept. 23 that it is teaming up with the National Association of State Boards of Education, New York State United Teachers, Public Schools for the 21st Century, and the National Education Association in order to help reduce the rates of obesity among children and adolescents.

The first three organizations have agreed to work with Atkins Nutritionals to develop and support programs that can combat obesity, the company said in a news release announcing the Atkins Education Policy Initiative. In addition, the nea’s Health Information Network is creating a Web site that will provide information on nutrition and physical activity with a grant from Atkins Nutritionals.

In cooperation with nysut, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, the company will sponsor “24/7 Let’s Go,” a nutrition and activity program designed by school nurses that will be tested at 24 schools across New York state this fall.

The National Association of State Boards of Education’s magazine, State Education Standard, will publish an issue later this year in partnership with Atkins that will focus on obesity problems among children.

Involvement Questioned

“Atkins will help fund it, and in return, we will publish an ad in the magazine, as well as their own article about obesity,” said Brenda Welburn, the executive director of nabse.

Public Schools for the 21st Century, a nonprofit coalition based in New York City, also will be involved in helping to test programs that could be used nationwide, the company said.

Gary Ruskin, the executive director Commercial Alert, a watchdog group based in Portland, Ore., said there was nothing involved that could not be done without the diet company.

Dr. Stuart L. Trager, Atkins’ medical director, said in an interview that the company was not suggesting that children follow its approach, which stresses a diet low in carbohydrates and sugars.

Vol. 24, Issue 04, Page 9

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