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Should Food Advertising to Children Be Restricted?

Hank Cardello

Limited progress has been made on establishing standards for advertising food to children. This comes as no surprise since too much emphasis has been given to micromanaging cuts in sugars and fats. This can only lead to incremental change. Its time to reset the rules of engagement.

If we are really interested in solving childhood obesity, focus must be placed squarely on the reduction of calories. Arguing whether 8 grams of sugar in cereal is a monumental improvement over 10 grams is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Instead of shackling food corporations, its time to ignite those marketing machines to serve the public health. More than $15 billion a year is spent on advertising by the food industry. Lets find ways to give food marketers incentives to allocate a portion of those dollars to better educate our children about proper nutrition and portion control.

Marketers know how to market. Lets tap into their expertise. It will be good for our children as well as for corporate bottom lines.

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