Food Marketing to Kids
"With rising rates of childhood obesity and diabetes, you might think that when the federal government convenes a meeting on how food companies market food to kids, talk of how to regulate industry practices might actually be on the agenda. But you'd be wrong," wrote Michele Simon.  In Mid-July 2005 a U.S. government conference on food marketing to kids was dominated by the companies themselves. "By conservative estimates, a full two-thirds of the panelists—hand-picked by the FTC and HHS—had financial ties to either the food or advertising industries. To add insult to injury, from the chairman of the FTC on down, nearly every government official who had the chance made clear that regulation of junk food ads aimed at children was not on the table and wouldn't be anytime soon. ... Only a handful of panel slots were allotted to public health or children's advocates. Even then, their voices were drowned out by the likes of PepsiCo and Kraft, who were each given two separate opportunities to speak, an honor not bestowed on anyone else."
Battle of the Childhood Bulge
"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, the Wall Street Journal reports. 
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." 
Other SourceWatch resources
- American Council for Fitness and Nutrition
- Food Advertising On Television in Australia
- American Dietetic Association
- Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness
- Calorie Control Council
- Center for Consumer Freedom
- Coalition for a Healthy and Active America
- International Association for the Study of Obesity
- International Obesity Task Force
- Media and Childhood Obesity: Today and Tomorrow
- Obesity APPG
- Obesity Working Group
- Personal responsibility
- Oldways Preservation Trust
- Shaping America's Youth
- Sugar industry
- Whole Grains Council
- Betsy McKay, "Defensive Coke Backs Research That Asks: Is Sugar All Bad?," Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2004.
- Scott Fields, "The Fat of the Land: Do Agricultural Subsidies Foster Poor Health?," Environmental Health Perspectives, September 2004.
- Richard Cann, "Media 'let firms off' obesity hook", PR Week, October 22, 2004.(Sub Req'd).
- Mark Johnson, "Reputation Management: The fast-food fight", PR Week, October 29 2004.(Sub Req'd).
- Nick Galvin, "Battle to junk food ads hots up", Sydney Morning Herald, January 19 2005.
- John N. Frank, "Vending machine operators target childhood obesity with new push", PR Week, February 7, 2005.
- Maja Pawinska, "Analysis: Kids’ TV confronts junk-food fear", PR Week, May 6, 2005. (Sub req'd.)
- Caroline E. Mayer and Amy Joyce, "The Escalating Obesity Wars:Nonprofit's Tactics, Funding Sources Spark Controversy", Washington Post, April 27, 2005.
- Julian Lee, "Food giants' involvement causes heartburn", Sydney Morning Herald, July 4, 2005.
- Michele Simon, "Government Abandons Children to Big Food", AlterNet, July 22, 2005.
- Sarah Ellison and Janet Adamy, "Panel Faults Food Packaging For Kid Obesity", Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2005; Page B1.
- Julie Robotham, "Ads for junk food likened to pushing cigarettes", Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2006.