Limiting unhealthy food marketing to children

Parents are concerned about food marketing and the way it impacts their children’s eating habits and would support policies to limit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, according to a recent study by the Rudd Center.

The study is the first of its kind to assess parents’ attitudes about policies to promote healthy eating, such as nutrition standards for foods sold in schools, as well as policies limiting marketing to children.

Researchers conducted an online survey of more than 2,000 parents of children and teens ages 2 to 17 in 2009, 2010, and 2011. They surveyed parents who participate in decisions about food and beverage choices in their households. They found that parents are just as concerned about advertisements promoting unhealthy foods to children as they are about alcohol and tobacco use in the media.

The majority of parents surveyed, regardless of gender or political orientation, supported nearly all proposed actions. These included improving the school food environment; reducing advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages on television; restricting other types of advertising, such as cartoon characters on packages, toys, social media, mobile devices, viral marketing, and in schools; and promoting healthy eating in children’s media. Support was highest for nutrition standards for foods sold in schools and policies to promote healthy eating in children’s media.

From the time the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), an industry-led self-regulatory program, was fully implemented in 2009 to 2011, parents have become increasingly concerned about food and beverage marketing to their children. In 2011, 65 percent of parents surveyed rated the food industry as a negative influence on their children’s eating habits, up from 59 percent in 2009. These findings suggest that parents are not satisfied with industry self-regulation.

The paper was co-authored by the Rudd Center’s Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Director of Marketing Initiatives; Frances Fleming Milici, PhD, Research Associate; Vishnu Sarda, MBBS, MPH, Biostatistician; and Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Deputy Director.

Dr. Anil Singhal MD

Limiting unhealthy food marketing to children
by ( Author at Obesity2020.com )
Posted on at 10:12 am.
Find more from Obesity2020 on: Childhood obesity
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