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Food industry still marketing fatty- sugary foods to kids despite their promise to stop!

Posted on Dec 28, 2009 by Maggie LaBarbera

Are we surprised by the latest report indicating that the food and beverage industry has failed to live up their commitment to change their marketing practices to children? I have to say, I am not.

The US Council of Better Business Bureaus initiated a voluntary, self regulatory program three years ago. The goal of the initiative was to really improve the nutrition of foods and drinks that were advertised to children. This was initiated after numerous studies showed how much money and how many marketing ads were being shown to young children that promoted unhealthy, high sugar and/or high fat foods. Combine that heavy messaging with the time kids spent on TV and it's no wonder that kids know popular fast foods and junk foods before they can even talk!

The initiative called “Better-for-You" was implemented to try to fight childhood obesity. We know that childhood obesity will not be solved by one initiative but changing the junk food and fast food marketing tactics to kids is certainly one important step. Kids are influenced by their clever marketing and they put a lot of money behind it to make it fun and engaging to children!

The fact that the participation was voluntary and they were agreeing to "watch" themselves says a lot about how strongly we were willing to take a stand against unhealthy food advertisements to kids. This may surprise you, but many other countries already have strict regulations in place that ban unhealthy food advertising to kids - it's the law!

Here is what the report found:

  • nearly three out of four (72.5%) of the foods advertised on television to children are for products in the poorest nutritional category
  • Commercials for healthy foods like fruits and vegetables accounted for only 1% of all food advertising to children
  • Nearly half of all food ads that used popular children’s characters (49%) promoted foods of the poorest nutritional quality
The honor system doesn't seem to work well for corporations when it conflicts with their pocketbook. We have to really question the viability of this current initiative and if self regulation is really the answer to addressing this part of the problem.

One thing we can do at home is make nutrition and healthy foods fun. Let kids learn about nutrition in a way that is engaging and meaningful to them. We have to fight the junk food FUN with our NUTRITION FUN! We can't wait for congress to pass a law, our kids are growing now and learning their eating habits and food associations now.

We, here at Nourish Interactive, will continue to find new creative ways to help you bring nutrition into your home in a fun way. We have games, colorful nutrition tools and free print material that are all designed to help parents and teachers make nutrition fun. We have to be our own marketing campaign "Eating healthy is fun."

Resources for teaching kids about healthy nutrition from our website:

Fun nutrition story page - nutrition stories for kids

Kids' healthy nutrition games - fun educational games teaching kids about healthy habits and the food pyramid

Fun nutrition tools - interactive learning tools for children

Parents nutrition tools and tips - healthy tips calendar, meal planners, bmi calculator, recipes and more!

Nutrition tools for teachers - free nutrition games for classrooms, food pyramid printables, worksheets, and nutrition lesson plans.



1 Comment

Tuesday, Dec 29, 2009 @ 10:15 AM

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You can't go blaming the food industry for advertising their products. My word...what kind of craziness is that? It's just called business. We - all of us as individuals - are the one's responsible for what we put in our mouths and what parent's feed their kids. NOT the food industry or the gov't or anyone else. Learn the 3 "R's" - Respect for others, Right over wrong and Responsbility for your own actions.

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