- Posted by Admin
- On February 6, 2017
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- advertisements, childhood obesity, children, food marketing, FTC, Global Regulations, HFSS Foods, Michelle Obama, WHO
When a child or teen watches a television program, they are exposed to a variety of different advertisements related to toys, games, electronics, food and beverages. Some food and beverage advertisements are targeted to children selling products that are high in fat, sugar, and salt, (also know as HFSS products) which may include certain “junk” food, and soft drinks. Researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity state that about 40% of all the food and beverage ads children and teens see on TV are sweet and savory snacks. These snacks include candy, cookies, snack bars, fruit snacks, chips, and crackers.
Food companies invest in product advertisements for various audiences including children and teens. This raises concerns for some because studies have indicated that young children often have difficulty understanding the differences between television programming and advertisements, and they have a tendency to recall information from ads they have been exposed to. Some research suggests that food marketing advertising can affect food choice and eating behavior, which could potentially increase the risk of being overweight or obese.
In the United States, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled among adolescents. There are many contributing factors including diet, physical activity, and genetics to childhood obesity, but some often argue that environmental factors, such as food marketing, can have an effect.
Internationally, food marketing gets a lot of attention as well. The World Heath Organization (WHO) states that television advertisements influence children’s food preferences, purchase requests, and consumption patterns. In fact, one of the WHO’s recent recommendations is aimed at reducing the impact of marketing HFSS foods. According to WHO, by restricting the number of advertisements that promote HFSS products, a positive impact on children’s food intake, quality of their diet, and overall health status could be possible.
Some countries are developing regulations against food marketing for HFSS foods by passing regulations on restricting television advertising and other marketing techniques targeted towards children.
- In 1980, Quebec passed a law restricting junk-food marketing to kids under 13 years old in print and electronic media. The country maintains to have the lowest child obesity rate, and fast food expenditures decreased by 13% as a result from the law.
- Since 1991, Sweden has held the strictest control with a ban on television and radio advertising targets at children under the age of 12. In 2013, companies agreed to a self-regulated ban on all marketing of unhealthy food and drinks for children under 16 year olds.
- Children’s programs in Belgium are prohibited from broadcasting commercial 5 minutes before and after the program.
- In Chile, promotional strategies that include cartoons and toys and advertising targeted towards children under 14 years old for HFSS foods is restricted in television programs, websites, radio, and magazines.
- In Ireland, HFSS foods are banned from advertising, sponsorship, teleshopping, and product placement for children’s TV and radio programs who have an audience under 18 years old. Advertisements cannot also include celebrities, health claims, or licensed characters.
- In Mexico, there are restrictions of unhealthy food advertisements for television programs with more than 35% of the audience under 13 year olds during certain times of the day.
- In January 2016,Taiwan placed restrictions on unhealthy food advertising for kids under 12 years old, so television channels who’s intended audience is children cannot advertise HFSS foods during a set time period in the evenings. Similar to Chile, food markets in Taiwan are prohibited from promoting products with the use of free toys at restaurants.
- More recently, the UK Committees of Advertising Practice banned advertisements of HFSS foods directed toward children under 18 years old, which will take effect in July 2017.
In the United States, there are no regulation for HFSS food advertisements, but then in the 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed a rule called “kidvid” proceeding to ban advertising to children, which was overturned by Congress given concerns regarding economic backlash and the first amendment of freedom of speech, or of the press. Congress additionally passed a provision to remove the FTC’s ability to use “unfairness” for rule making.
In George Franklin’s Raisin Bran and Other Cereal Wars 30 Years of Lobbying for the Most Famous Tiger in the World, he discusses how the topic of regulation for HFSS food advertisements has been ongoing for decades in the United States. 40 years later, Former First Lady Michelle Obama described how Americans are eating 15 pounds more sugar than they did in 1970, and the significance of food marketing of unhealthy foods aimed at children. Michelle Obama’s address to the Grocery Manufacturer Association provided further input for the International Working Group, which was formed in 2009 to develop a set of voluntary guidelines for marketing foods to kids. When the first draft of guidelines was released for public comments, there was a similar response comparable to FTC’s proposed rule for the “kidvid” proceeding in the 1970s. Currently, the FTC is working with government agencies, consumer advocates, academics, and industry to foster the discussion for effective self-regulatory initiatives to address the growing public health issue of childhood obesity.
- Reducing the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. The World Health Organization. (2011, January 02). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.who.int/chp/media/news/releases/2011_1_marketing/en/
- New rules ban the advertising of high fat, salt and sugar food and drink products in children’s media. The Committees of Advertising Practice. (2016, December 08). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from https://www.cap.org.uk/News-reports/Media-Centre/2016/Insight-New-rules-ban-advertising-of-HFSS-food-and-drink-products-in-childrens-media.aspx#.WH62X7YrL-Y
- Harris, J. L., Bargh, J. A., & Brownell, K. D. (2009, July). Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2743554/
- Reducing the impact of marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages on children. The World Health Organization. (2016, October 17). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.who.int/elena/titles/food_marketing_children/en/
- Storss, Carina. Kids seeing more unhealthy snack ads, report says. CNN. (2015, November 02). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/02/health/children-snack-food-advertising/
- Marisa Tsai / Food Tank. 8 Countries Taking Action Against Junk Food Marketing. (2016, June 27). Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.alternet.org/food/8-countries-taking-action-against-junk-food-marketing
- Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents. The Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from https://www.ftc.gov/food-marketing-to-children-and-adolescents
- Franklin, G. (2014). Raisin Bran and Other Cereal Wars 30 Years of Lobbying for the most Famous Tiger in the World. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.
- Huber, Bridget. Michelle Obama Moves. The Nations. (2012, October 29). Retrieved January 24, 2017, from https://www.thenation.com/article/michelle-obamas-moves/