Articles

Childhood obesity is a major public health problem in the United States, yet US children are targeted as never before with marketing for foods high in sugar, fat, salt, and calories. Food marketing to children is highly sophisticated, increasingly well-funded, and takes place within the context of a barrage of other kinds of child-targeted marketing. The proliferation and sophistication of electronic media, the escalation of marketing in schools, changing families, and a political climate that favors deregulation have allowed marketers unprecedented access to children, including babies and toddlers. The notion--promulgated by the food industry--that parents can "just say no" to requests for highly marketed snacks and junk food is simplistic at best and cynical at worst. Instead of being viewed as a familial problem, the current marketing maelstrom should be viewed as a societal issue and addressed as such. Restriction of advertising to children is common in industrial democracies other than the United States--and is just one of many corrective actions that could be taken by our governments.

Dr. Susan Linn

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