Battle of the Childhood Bulge

Food Marketing
Cover of the IOM report

"We can't any more argue whether food advertising is related to children's diets. It is," said Ellen Wartella, a co-author of the Institute of Medicine report reviewing "123 scientific research studies spanning 30 years on the effects of marketing food to children." The report concluded that "strong evidence" links TV ads to childhood obesity, and recommended that well-known cartoon characters not be used to sell "low-nutrient and high-calorie" foods. Marketing to children is a $11 billion industry. The American Advertising Federation responded that companies are already "promoting healthier products and active lifestyles for children." Commercial Alert called on Congress to "expel junk food from public schools, require disclosure of product placement ... and eliminate the federal tax deduction for food advertising to children." The New York Times reports that Center for Science in the Public Interest, with "veterans of successful tobacco litigation," will file a lawsuit in Massachusetts to "ban sales of sugary beverages in schools."


Well I give you guys credit for at least not showing a headless torso of a chubby child the way the popular press does. Bad enough they have to dehumanize adults that way. The tacky way the mainstream media handles this issue is more damaging to these kids that their own bodies. And if society is really serious about looking at all causes of obesity, they better start looking into endocrine disrupters, growth hormones in the food, and the mothers' dieting habits. They should also stop singling out fat kids and broader the issue to child nutrition. And they should find experts versed in the behaviorial sciences who aren't scared to death of fat, because the hysteria they create is counterproductive. Not that I am against banning junk food ads for kids, or any ads for that matter. I am just sick of obesity being the exclusive boogyman when the issue is much more complex.