Disease Proof

Unwrapping Junk Food Marketing

Coming off the heels of the British ban on junk-food commercials during children’s programming, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is planning to examine the way food manufacturers market to children. And oh boy do they market! According to federal Institute of Medicine they spend $10 to $12 billion annually to reach children. But as David Goldstein of The Seattle Times reports, getting more information out of manufacturers is tough:
"Government agencies and policymakers have experienced a lot of frustration in trying to get information about what food companies are doing to advertise their products to kids," Victoria Rideout, a vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation said. But with childhood obesity at 16 percent, more than three times higher than it was in 1980, pressure has been building on the food industry to curb marketing sugary, high-fat food to children.
Goldstein points out that many food producers have responded to the increased rate of childhood obesity by pledging to promote better nutrition. Some health officials are laughing at this. Michael Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, likened it to Ronald McDonald pedaling a bike while peddling junk food.
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