A children’s watchdog and a university have collaborated on a study of food advertising aimed at children on television since stakeholders created voluntary standards in 2007 and finds the results to be insufficient, calling the ads a “preventable variable” in the fight against childhood obesity.
The watchdog is Children Now, the school is the University of Arizona and the study is a mouthful in its own right. It’s called “The Impact of Industry Self-Regulation on the Nutritional Quality of Foods Advertised on Television to Children”
The study was designed to assess the impact of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, which enlisted many of the largest advertisers of food, who are said to represent two thirds of the category advertising budget.
According to the study, despite the 2007 guidelines, almost 75% of the food advertised is in the lowest quality group, while the healthiest items are “virtually invisible.”
According to an article in Medical News Today, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona called televised food ads aimed at children “…a significant preventable variable in the childhood obesity epidemic.” He added, “This new scientific information should be a renewed ‘wake up’ call to all elected officials, teachers and parents to take appropriate action to prevent childhood obesity and in doing so improve the quality of life and reduce the cost of care for our children.”