America’s problem with weight control, particularly among children, was all the rage in Washington last summer, and a parade of media and food companies pledged to adjust their advertising practices to avoid influencing children toward fatty, sugary and salty treats, and to promote good eating and exercise habits. In official Washington, hearings were held and tasks forces formed, but in the end not much came of it. The effort seems to be building again, however. Caitlin Van Zandt, seen in CBS soap Guiding Light and HBO’s The Sopranos, is joining The Walk from Obesity, an event being held in Washington 6/17/08 to keep the spotlight on the problem. Recent reports have noted the obesity epidemic reaching a plateau. Watchdogs applauded that revelation, but are clamoring not only for stemming the obesity tide but reducing it.
RBR/TVBR observation: A steady diet of junk food is a bad habit for your average human, and a diet of junk food advertising should probably be seen the same way. Accepting such ads, particularly on programming aimed at children, is going to make you a negative publicity target for the watchdog community, and invite unwanted advertising regulation from legislators and concerned bureaucrats. Last year’s rapid voluntary response actually gave broadcasters something to brag about. It will be important to maintain this posture to keep Washington out of our hair.