Study: Ads Lead to Bad Eating Habits
By George Anderson
A new report from the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine says food marketers’ advertising on children’s television has influenced the eating habits of the nation’s youth, contributing to increased rates of obesity.
According to the research, the food and beverage industry spent about $5 billion on television commercials last year, most promoting high-calorie products with little nutritional value. Many younger children, in particular, are not able to make a distinction between the commercials and the shows they are watching.
The report, Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?, calls for the industry to take immediate and voluntary action to “shift its marketing messages away from high-calorie and low-nutrition foods and beverages to advertising of healthful foods and beverages.”
Should food marketers fail to follow the report’s recommendations, the study’s authors said, “Congress should enact legislation mandating the shift on both broadcast and cable television.”
Those critical of the report said it lags what is taking place in the real world.
“This report is a compendium of existing research and most of its recommendations are already being done,” said Richard Martin of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “The marketplace is already responding and legislation is costly, complicated and really not necessary.”
Moderator’s Comment: Is the food industry already responding to calls for it to market more nutritional foods to children? Where do you stand on the
need (or not) for legislation on this matter? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity? – The National Academies of Science – Institute
- TV ads push
junk food, harm kids’ diets – Reuters
- Children-and-Food Study Slams Marketing Industry – AdAge.com