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New Study Slams Food Marketing to Children


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That link doesn't provide any details on the IOM report's findings or recommendations, but you can read the full report online at IOM's website:

Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity? (2006)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=47037

Seems like a kind of victory or at least a boon to those who are fighting for better public health and accountability in the US.

"A government report today that accuses food marketers of using billions in marketing dollars to woo children away from good diet choices "

What, the parents are completely out of the loop, or otherwise rendered helpless in this? Look, I'm as much in favor of public health and nutrition education as the next Babe, but accountability starts at home. Just because Tony the Tiger said they're Grrreat, doesn't mean the kids have to eat half a box a day.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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Well said, FoodBabe.

I did a brief stint with a major soft drink company (which I refer to as my years in purgatory), and initially felt horrendous that part of my job was to engage said children.

My mind was forever changed, however, when much of the time the parents were the ones running up and asking for several cans for their kids.

It starts at home.

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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While I don't like the tendency of blaming society for all your ills, and a complete abandoning of any personal responsibility, I can completely sympatize with this one.

Marketing intentionally geared towards children should not be allowed, period. I saw some kind of documentary on human development that said children will pretty much eat whatever their bodies need, and no more from infancy -- overeating occurs at exactly the moment when they intellectually and emotionally become aware of their surroundings, enough to understand commercials. Children aren't personally responsible -- they're not supposed to be.

It's like trying to sell stuff to a person who is mentually challenged and incapable of making decisions, and if his guardian fails to stop the purchase of anything that's bad for the poor guy, then that's a failure on the part of the guardian. But the truly immoral act was for the seller to intentionally target the guy.

In England, they have an interesting rule/law about casinos: They are allowed to supply a need but they are not allowed to create a demand. Hence, you won't see a single advertisement for casinos, and unless someone tells you what to look for, you'd never think there were casinos there. This is not a bad idea. And that's for advertising that targets adults.

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You're all right, of course. Parents matter, economics matter, advertising matters. No need to dismiss the power of marketing to give power to families. And, as Daniel says, all that stockholder money is getting invested in things that corporations have done mighty research to support....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Where have you people been? No one is responsible for their own choices anymore. :hmmm: At least, it seems that way sometimes.

I looked through the report's section on recommendations, and the recommendations to the food industry basically boil down to: develop healthier foods and market healthier foods.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Just as a personal observation, I don't think food advertising has 1/1000 the effect on my own child's eating habits that I as a parent have. My daughter may ask for marshmallow "cereal" or whatever at the store as a result of advertising exposure, but I decide whether to get it or not. There is a problem here with unhealthy eating, but I think that since only parents, schools and caregivers have real control over what kids eat, you really got to focus efforts there. That's just MHO.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you .... :shock:

Government action would probably be to slap a hefty tax on "unhealthy" foods to fund "educational" programs for children. They would then become so vested in the success of the industry they couldn't let it fail. :wacko:

SB (It's so easy to watch someone else's ox being gored)

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I have to agree that the parent it is ulitmately responsible for thier children. I am the father to a 2 year old daughter and always give her a "choice". You can have carrots sticks or asparagus (for example) and empower her. We don't take her to the Golden Arches just because it is convienient to us. If we do, it is the Happy Meal with apple slices and milk. We don't keep chocolate and candy from her, but we don't let it become a staple, either in the house or away from it (we travel quite a bit). We sit at the dinner table every night and have a DINNER. We talk, we eat, we have family time. When I am prepping dinner, she sits on the counter next to me and noshes on whatever veggie or fruit or cheese or whatever it is that we are having. Yes, my 2 year old will eat sushi (smoked fish or veggie only though), all veggies (and doesnt want them with sauces), and will take a pear over a chocolate bar. Our hope is that by teaching her the good eating habits now, we, as her parents, can lessen the effects of this marketing. Like I stated, I believe the parents are the strongest marketing force in your childs life.

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Bravo to those of you advocating personal responsibility. It's like a...breath of fresh air. :smile:

Jennifer L. Iannolo

Founder, Editor-in-Chief

The Gilded Fork

Food Philosophy. Sensuality. Sass.

Home of the Culinary Podcast Network

Never trust a woman who doesn't like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed. (attributed to Federico Fellini)

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I agree with everyone who espouses personal responsibility, but...don't you agree that shedding some light on the insidious practices of the mega-conglomerates who peddle the worst crap is a good thing?

Because not every kid has the good fortune to have an educated, responsible, caring parent offering a carrot stick or apple instead of Corn Syrup Goop with Crunchy Sugar Bits...

<b>Laurie Woolever</b>

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Bravo to those of you advocating personal responsibility. It's like a...breath of fresh air.  :smile:

I'll stand with those asking for a bit of corporate responsibility, as well. Aggressively marketing crap to children is indefensible; creating one more hassle for parents is at least a misdemeanor.

The idea that manufacturers and marketers are blameless but that some exhausted parent who caves to a whiny child under the influence of their pernicious little advertisements -- and if you haven't had one, you may not know how annoyingly persistent the little bastards can be -- and buys a Happy Meal just to get a little peace is a bad parent, is offensive.

For those parents with the energy to be perfect 24/7, or who are blessed with perfect children, God bless. The rest of us would rather not see billions of dollars in marketingly spent to shamelessly undermine what energy and authority we have.

PS -- if the government is to abandon its role in promoting public health, I look forward to the return of cigarette advertising on to TV and the end of those annoying "parents, the anti-drug" public service announcements, as well.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I agree with everyone who espouses personal responsibility, but...don't you agree that shedding some light on the insidious practices of the mega-conglomerates who peddle the worst crap is a good thing?[...]

Learning about the way that propaganda is used in advertising, politics, etc. should be part of every child's education. Learning how to construct honest arguments that are not mere propaganda should also be part of every child's education. Many students think that ignoring any opposing view makes their essays stronger, rather than less believable. Perhaps exposure to advertising has something to do with that.

But I think we can see that awareness of advertising methods is an issue that goes way beyond food...

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I agree with everyone who espouses personal responsibility, but...don't you agree that shedding some light on the insidious practices of the mega-conglomerates who peddle the worst crap is a good thing?

More knowledge is always, always, always to the good. And to the extent that the IOM report adds to our knowledge, its a good thing. But the bottom line for me is that it always has and always will be parental/caregiver responsibility, not industry's responsibility, to make sure my children make the right food choices. I expect them to produce stuff and try to sell me that stuff, rather than act as dieticians.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I agree with everyone who espouses personal responsibility, but...don't you agree that shedding some light on the insidious practices of the mega-conglomerates who peddle the worst crap is a good thing?[...]

Learning about the way that propaganda is used in advertising, politics, etc. should be part of every child's education. Learning how to construct honest arguments that are not mere propaganda should also be part of every child's education. Many students think that ignoring any opposing view makes their essays stronger, rather than less believable. Perhaps exposure to advertising has something to do with that.

But I think we can see that awareness of advertising methods is an issue that goes way beyond food...

These are four-year-olds. They believe in Santa Clause. They're not quite ready for rhetorical training. They just want to eat what that cool kid ate on TV.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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PS -- if the government is to abandon its role in promoting public health, I look forward to the return of cigarette advertising on to TV and the end of those annoying "parents, the anti-drug" public service announcements, as well.

I don't think anyone is advocating that the government take no role in public health, though there may be some disagreements about how and when in should intervene. And of course the smoking comparison is a little shaky, since even light smoking increases your risk of death significantly, which is not something you can say about the occasionaly snickers bar.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I agree with everyone who espouses personal responsibility, but...don't you agree that shedding some light on the insidious practices of the mega-conglomerates who peddle the worst crap is a good thing?[...]

Learning about the way that propaganda is used in advertising, politics, etc. should be part of every child's education. Learning how to construct honest arguments that are not mere propaganda should also be part of every child's education. Many students think that ignoring any opposing view makes their essays stronger, rather than less believable. Perhaps exposure to advertising has something to do with that.

But I think we can see that awareness of advertising methods is an issue that goes way beyond food...

These are four-year-olds. They believe in Santa Clause. They're not quite ready for rhetorical training. They just want to eat what that cool kid ate on TV.

Right. They also want to stick tweezers in light sockets, ram M&Ms up their nose, and play with matches. That's where mom and dad come in.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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PS -- if the government is to abandon its role in promoting public health, I look forward to the return of cigarette advertising on to TV and the end of those annoying "parents, the anti-drug" public service announcements, as well.

I don't think anyone is advocating that the government take no role in public health, though there may be some disagreements about how and when in should intervene. And of course the smoking comparison is a little shaky, since even light smoking increases your risk of death significantly, which is not something you can say about the occasionaly snickers bar.

I seem to recall something in the news about -- oh wait, it's coming back -- a childhood obesity epidemic and the emergence of obesity as the second leading cause of preventable death. So, maybe the cigarette comparison is not so strained after all.

The object of all advertising is to develop consumprion habits in their targets that last a lifetime. Advertising that promotes long-term consumption of unhealthy food by children too young to make their own judgement, which may result in a lifetime of health problems, is well within the range of actions that could and should concern the government.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The idea that manufacturers and marketers are blameless but that some exhausted parent who caves to a whiny child under the influence of their pernicious little advertisements -- and if you haven't had one, you may not know how annoyingly persistent the little bastards can be -- and buys a Happy Meal just to get a little peace is a bad parent, is offensive.

If that type of thing happens occasionally, no you're not a bad parent. Just imperfect. But if you consistently allow yourself to be pressured into making bad choices for your child's health, then yes, you probably are a bad parent.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The idea that manufacturers and marketers are blameless but that some exhausted parent who caves to a whiny child under the influence of their pernicious little advertisements -- and if you haven't had one, you may not know how annoyingly persistent the little bastards can be -- and buys a Happy Meal just to get a little peace is a bad parent, is offensive.

If that type of thing happens occasionally, no you're not a bad parent. Just imperfect. But if you consistently allow yourself to be pressured into making bad choices for your child's health, then yes, you probably are a bad parent.

Just want to get this straight: manufacturers and marketers, no matter how odious their product or methods, bear no responsibility whatsoever for the results of their actions? To be incorporated is to be without sin?

I'm not taking parents out of the equation here. I'm just saying that giving them all the responsibility and all of the balme, despite the systematic efforts of other to undermine thier work, is a bit disingenuous.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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PS -- if the government is to abandon its role in promoting public health, I look forward to the return of cigarette advertising on to TV and the end of those annoying "parents, the anti-drug" public service announcements, as well.

I don't think anyone is advocating that the government take no role in public health, though there may be some disagreements about how and when in should intervene. And of course the smoking comparison is a little shaky, since even light smoking increases your risk of death significantly, which is not something you can say about the occasionaly snickers bar.

I seem to recall something in the news about -- oh wait, it's coming back -- a childhood obesity epidemic and the emergence of obesity as the second leading cause of preventable death.

The cigarette comparison is quite obviously strained. So far as we know, there is no way to smoke regularly without impacting your health and increasing your risk of death. Snickers bars, on the other hand, don't kill you if you eat them occasionally, as part of a diet that is reasonable.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The idea that manufacturers and marketers are blameless but that some exhausted parent who caves to a whiny child under the influence of their pernicious little advertisements -- and if you haven't had one, you may not know how annoyingly persistent the little bastards can be -- and buys a Happy Meal just to get a little peace is a bad parent, is offensive.

If that type of thing happens occasionally, no you're not a bad parent. Just imperfect. But if you consistently allow yourself to be pressured into making bad choices for your child's health, then yes, you probably are a bad parent.

Just want to get this straight: manufacturers and marketers, no matter how odious their product or methods, bear no responsibility whatsoever for the results of their actions? To be incorporated is to be without sin?

I admit, I have no idea how you derived that summary of my position from anything that I actually wrote. Of course corporations have responsibilities. But making sure my kids eat right aint one of them.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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The cigarette comparison is quite obviously strained. So far as we know, there is no way to smoke regularly without impacting your health and increasing your risk of death.[...]

Are you positive about that? In every case? Aren't there examples of smokers who live healthy lives and die in their 90s?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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