Monday, May 2, 2011

Limit marketing to kids

Tony the Tiger, Lucky the Leprechaun, Count Chocula. All characters we know and love. But are these loved characters contributing to the ever growing problem of childhood obesity?

Most of us can agree on yes and a collection of federal agencies think so too. For two years these agencies have been working toward a set of voluntary guidelines outlining what foods can and can’t be marketed to children.  Food companies and marketing firms rejected a set of guidelines last year and the government took their time releasing new ones.

Late last week an AP reporter got to see the new guidelines and had this to write, “companies would be urged to only market foods to children ages 2 through 17 if they are low in fats, sugars and sodium and contain specified healthy ingredients."

It’s no surprise that food companies think these restrictions are more strict than the ones that have imposed on themselves. They don’t want their easiest and most effective forms of advertising to go away, including t.v. commercial and activities on their websites aimed toward kids. 

The yummiest cereals are placed just a few feet off the ground in shopping aisles where vulnerable eyes can see.  With bright colors and promises of treasure inside how can’t kids be swayed?  When offered a choice between a cereal that tastes like cookies for breakfast or one that only your grandmother could love I think the cards are stacked.

If we can have cooperation from food companies for the better good of the people these steps taken can help to end one of the things America is most known for.