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Politics & Current Affairs

Marketing Junk Food to Children

The Federal Trade Commission has finally released rules about how foods can (and can’t) be marketed to children—but some questions remain, such as how effective the voluntary regulations will be. 

What’s the Latests Development?

Nearly one year late, the Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines for identifying foods that should not be marketed to children. The Congress originally specified that new regulations would be issued by June 2010, but changes in marketing laws were delayed because of the influence of food industry lobbies. The new guidelines, though voluntary, are expected to influence food market standards going forward. “By one estimate, the new standards would affect advertisements on 1,700 television programs. They would ripple across about 20 types of marketing, including radio, print and Internet pitches.”

What’s the Big Idea?

When advertisers pitch sugary and fatty foods to children with colorful cartoon characters, it may come at the expense of long-term healthy eating habits. But at what point does government regulation take the fun out of being a kid and money out of company coffers? “Nutrition experts said the new guidelines would inhibit products such as Kellogg’s Eggo waffles, General Mills’ Cocoa Puffs and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers from being pitched to children.” With one in three children being overweight, First Lady Michelle Obama has taken childhood obesity on as her signature cause. 


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