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Junk food ads

Pediatricians call for ban on junk food advertising to children

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: junk food ads, junk foods ad bans, junk food commercials


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(NewsTarget) The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said Monday that Congress should pass legislation prohibiting junk food commercials on TV shows aimed at children, and pediatricians should support a ban or severe restrictions on unhealthy food ads appearing in schools.

The AAP's policy asks Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to restrict children's commercial exposure during children's television programs to five or six minutes per hour -- a 50 percent reduction from current allowances. The policy also calls on the makers of the impotence drug Viagra to only show commercials after 10 p.m.

Recent studies highlighting increasing rates of childhood obesity have shown that children are constantly bombarded by ads for unhealthy foods and drinks. Ads appearing on the internet, video games, cell phones, school buses and on school campuses encourage kids to buy unhealthy products, according to pediatrician Victor Srasburger, who authored the Academy's proposed policy. Critics also point out that the UK has already passed laws banning such advertising to children.

The Institute of Medicine released a study last year that found that children 12 and younger who are exposed to food and beverage marketing often ask their parents to purchase unhealthy, high-calorie foods and drinks.

Consumer advocate Mike Adams, author of "Grocery Warning," said the United States cannot hope to stop the current epidemics of childhood obesity and diabetes unless legislators enforce bans on the advertising of junk foods and sugary drinks to children.

"It is unacceptable for government regulators to continue to allow corporations to exploit the health of our children for profit," Adams said. "It is time that our government stood up for the public and put an end to advertisements of both junk foods and prescription drugs."

According to Arizona State University educational policy researcher Alex Molnar, 83 percent of public schools allow corporate advertising on campus, while two-thirds of surveyed schools reported advertising relationships with junk food and beverage companies.

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