Did your kids watch a lot of TV during the holiday vacation? You might want to check in on what kind of ads they have been seeing, especially if they start wandering back to you with glazed eyes, asking for sugary cereals. Food marketing and advertising to kids is a $2 billion industry – and the issue of regulating unhealthy food marketing to kids remains very much in dispute.
The background: Research has repeatedly shown that children’s exposure to television advertising for non-nutritious food products is a significant risk factor contributing to childhood obesity. However, the food and beverage industry’s past efforts to self-regulate have been criticized by childrens’ health advocates as inadequate.
In late 2008, Congress charged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with creating an interagency task force to establish a voluntary uniform nutrition standard for marketing foods and beverages through children’s media. In December 2009, the FTC announced that a proposed nutrition standard would be released for public comment in January 2010 – with the final report due to Congress in July 2010. And since then…nothing.
Responding to the (in)action, a group of leading advocacy organizations has called upon the FTC to get moving. Led by the Oakland-based Children Now, a group including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, Common Sense Media, MALDEF, the American Heart Association, MomsRising, and the Parent’s Television Council sent a letter to the FTC demanding action.
Will it have an effect? Stay tuned.