Monday, July 26, 2010

Junk Food Advertising: What Next?

I recognize that the days of people churning their own butter from their own cows are done, but I’ll never accept how moneyed interests dictate our food choices and, by extension, our health.

An article in The New York Times this weekend addressed the battle over food companies’ marketing of junk food to kids. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, consumers and our health care system are the losers.

How many more billions of dollars will we waste treating avoidable obesity and type 2 diabetes because “ . . . a hard-nosed effort by the federal government to forge tougher advertising standards that favor more healthful products has become stalled amid industry opposition and deep divisions among regulators”?

To those who think that government should be minimized and personal responsibility is the answer, I’ll argue that trusting the big food corporations—whose main purpose is to make money—has gotten us into the mess we find ourselves healthwise.

Junk food marketing campaigns are created by brilliant people utilizing cutting-edge psychology and extensive budgets, all to get our three-year-olds to kick and scream (literally). I believe that there should be no marketing aimed specifically at children.

While I agree that certain measures proposed by readers who commented on the article—getting rid of our televisions, saying “no” to our kids, etc.—would be effective, I’m not sure how feasible they are.

Click here to read “Ad Rules Stall, Keeping Cereal a Cartoon Staple.”

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