Curbing Junk Food Marketing to Children

The Federal Trade Commission is considering guidelines to curb junk food marketing to children. The deadlines for public comments is coming up in less than two weeks.

With nearly a third of American kids overweight or obese, many people are looking for ways to improve the health and activity levels of kids. One thing people are looking at is the amount of junk food consumed by kids and how to reduce that.

Recent attempts to limit junk food marketing to children, while successful, have been piecemeal and only apply to a city at a time.

Junk food โ€“ not just fast food, but also sugary cereals, candy, and various sugared-up food substitutes โ€“ is marketed to children in a wide variety of ways. Television advertising and fun toys in the bottom of the cereal box were all I had when I was a kid. Nowadays, online games and actually marketing to kids in schools are popular methods.

Right now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is accepting public comments on where to draw the line. The proposed guidelines are really only two guidelines:ย  advertise only foods that make a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet and encourage children to minimize consumption of food that could have a negative impact on health or weight.

Comments can be submitted through the online form. Previously submitted comments can be viewed on the FTC site. Some of the comments are in the form of pdf attachments.

Fewer than one hundred comments have been posted in the last month. Food industry and advertising interests are posting detailed recommendations. If you have the time and inclination, comments from the general public are very much needed.ย  The deadline for comments on junk food marketing to children is June 15.

Image by ZanastarDust, used with Creative Commons license.

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