Kids See Fewer Ads for Sweets, More for Fast Food Study Shows Some Improvement in TV Ads Targeting Kids Since 2003 WebMD Medical News By Denise Mann Reviewed by Louise...
Alicia Valko's insight:
*** Takeaway quote:
“This may be a good sign, albeit of relatively small magnitude,” says Scott Kahan, MD, MPH, co-director of George Washington University Weight Management Program in Washington, D.C.” Although children are slightly seeing fewer TV ads for sweets and sugary drinks, they're seeing much more marketing for fast food.”
“The nutrition and obesity communities have been leaning on the food industry to exert corporate responsibility when it comes to food advertising to kids, particularly young kids,” he tells WebMD. "Marketing to young kids, especially the youngest kids, is particularly manipulative. Preying on young kids (and, by extension, their parents) by using cartoon characters, superheroes, and the like in order to promote unhealthful foods is inappropriate and irresponsible."
Dr. Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C, added there is a lot that scientists do not know about fructose and how it affects your body. "There are certainly differences between sugar molecules, and these are still being worked out scientifically," he said.
According to Kahan, high-fructose corn syrup, a ubiquitous sweetener that manufacturers love because it is inexpensive, super-sweet and helps extend shelf life, gets a bad rap about its potential role in the obesity epidemic, but it has about the same amount of fructose as table sugar (sucrose). "We don't entirely know if there is some uniquely unhealthy aspect of high-fructose corn syrup," he said.
One thing that is clear, Kahan said, is that "almost all of us eat too much sugar, and if we can moderate that we will be healthier on a number of levels."
It's no surprise that many sodas have a lot of sugar. What may be more surprising is that many fruit drinks, often billed as healthier alternatives, are often loaded with close to the same amount of sugar and calories, a report finds.
Alicia Valko's insight:
Still, Scott Kahan, MD, an obesity expert at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, says he is concerned about these trends.
"Decades of social science research show that marketing affects all of our preferences and choice, but kids are sitting ducks for advertisers," he says. "Putting a character like Shrek on food makes it taste better to kids."
In recent years, there has been a shift from focusing on preventing infections in children to concern about chronic diseases such as diabetes that are nutrition-related. "We wouldn't let our kids be attacked by ads for germ-infected products that would make them sick, but this study shows we are allowing them to be attacked by marketers of unhealthy foods that will make them sick," Kahan says.
He says that voluntary pledges by industry may not be enough. "There needs to be serious discussion about what the rules should be and who needs to play be them."
To be sure, obesity rates only increased over the past decade, continuing the epidemic rise that has progressed over the past half-century. But hidden underneath the scary statistics is quite a bit of good news.
Alicia Valko's insight:
Does not mention sugary drinks/soda. Discusses the nationally-increasing awareness of obesity as a disease.
This PDF ("Weigh In: Talking to Your Children About Weight and Health") is published by the organization of which Kahan serves as Alliance Director. The publications recommends "Limiting the number of sweets (foods and beverages) you eat a week" on pages 13, 17, 21, 25, 29, and 33.
Copyright 2012 – STOP Obesity Alliance and Alliance for a Healthier Generation
"Nearly 600 products from 14 beverage companies were studied. Few of their beverages were nutritionally sound, though many presented misleading health claims – such as claiming “all-natural” or “high in antioxidants” on a high-calorie soda or “low sodium” on drinks that are essentially all sugar."
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