Study shows public support for regulating kid food marketing


Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City is concerned about childhood obesity, and is further concerned that a study showed that parents do not think it’s a condition worthy of professional treatment. The study also showed that almost three out of four parents would be in favor of restricting the marketing of food to children.

“Despite the attention on the obesity epidemic, the disconnect found among parents regarding the long-term outcomes associated with childhood obesity is concerning,” said Sarah Hampl, MD, medical director, Weight Management Services at Children’s Mercy. “Obese children have both immediate and future health problems, including hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. The survey illustrates that parents need help connecting the dots between having an overweight child and what their future health consequences may be.”

Here are some regulatory suggestions that the poll put to a vote. The results show that while many parents do not want to put themselves out to deal with the problem, they have no trouble adopting rules that lay the onus for the obesity problem on others.

* Require healthy options in all public places that have vending machines (81%)

* Require that health insurance companies cover obesity treatment (77%)

* Require sidewalks in all neighborhoods (76%)

* Strengthen regulations on food marketing to kids (73%)

* Control locations of fast food restaurants (for example, limiting placement near schools) (60%)

* Tax foods such as potato chips and sweets (39%)

RBR-TVBR observation: Count us among the parents that would not seek treatment if our children were overweight, but only because we believe we are smart enough to connect a few dots – especially those dots that start with a fatty diet, run through a sedentary lifestyle, and end up on the heavy side of the scale. If our best efforts to control such issues failed, however, we would consider treatment.

At any rate, we are aware that many do not really think about such things, and the ease with which those who wish to slim down America set their sights on advertising should continue to be of concern to the marketing community. Voluntary standards are great, but they still do not seem to have enough weight of their own to keep this zombie issue at bay.