This invaluable report clearly demonstrates the extent to which children are targeted with television commercials for unhealthy food. And, unfortunately, TV ads on television are only the tip of the iceberg. Television programs and movies also market unhealthy food to children through extensive brand licensing, promotions at fast food restaurants, and product placement. At the same time, food marketers market to children in school and increasingly use newer technologies – such as the Internet and cell phones – to maintain a constant presence in children’s lives.
We know that marketing is a factor in the childhood obesity epidemic. It is unconscionable that 8-12-year-olds see, on average, more than 7,600 food commercials a year – the vast majority for candy, snacks, cereals, and fast food. This report is the latest indication that, when it comes to children, the food and advertising industries are incapable of policing themselves. It is past time for policies that will protect children from junk food marketers.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children. CCFC supports the rights of children to grow up – and the rights of parents to raise them – without being undermined by rampant commercialism. For more information, please visit: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org.