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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Experts Recommends Children 14 and Under be Protected by Food Marketing Policies

A panel of experts convened recently. They were brought together by the Healthy Eating Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Panelists include Margo Wootan Director of Nutrition for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, David Britt former CEO of Sesame Workshop, Dale Kunkel of University of Arizona, William Deitz of George Washington University and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. The group had several recommendations for policies on food marketing aimed at kids. 

First, the panel recommended that the who is considered to be the audience of children should be expanded. The group believes that not only kids 11 and younger should be covered. Instead, the experts recommend that audiences of children ages 14 and younger should be included. Second, the group said that media/programs should be considered child-directed if children make up 25 percent or more of the audience, as opposed to what most companies use now, which is 35 percent.

The experts also believe that sometimes advertising that doesn't appear in specifically kid-targeted programs/websites, should still be able to be considered kids marketing in certain situations. That means that food packaging, toy premiums and even things like in-store displays would be covered under the proposed approach.

Elaine Kolish of the The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative issued a statement about the Healthy Eating Research Recommendations. 

CFBAI CARU and HER share the goal of wanting our nation’s children to grow up healthy. Childhood obesity is multi-faceted problem that requires all segments of our society to solve. Through our programs, major food and beverage advertisers are part of the solution. CFBAI and CARU administer robust, highly-regarded advertising self-regulation programs that have significantly improved the children’s food marketing landscape.

To read Elaine Kolish's full statement, please visit the Better Business Bureau's Website