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Children's health

FTC Calls for Healthier Food Choices for Children

Tuesday, February 03, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: children's health, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews)"Meaningful" nutrition-based standards need to be applied to all foods that are marketed specifically to children and adolescents, according to a report submitted to Congress by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

"Our study makes a path-breaking contribution to understanding how food and media industries are marketing food to youth," said FTC Chair William Kovacic. "We call on both industries to deploy their talents to promote healthier choices for children and adolescents."

The report found that 44 major food and beverage companies spent roughly $1.6 billion on advertising to children and adolescents in 2006. More than $1 billion of this total was targeted directly at adolescents, while $860 million went toward marketing to children. The remaining $300 million was spent on ad campaigns that targeted both age groups.

Forty-six percent of marketing spending, or $745 million, went to television ads alone. More than $208 million was invested in cross-promotions involving a total of 80 movies, TV shows or children's animated characters and often also involving promotional Web sites or games.

The FTC recommended that Congress impose specific nutrition-based standards on all food and beverage marketing that is aimed at children and adolescents. It also called upon manufacturers to improve the nutritional content of foods aimed at young consumers.

The report was commissioned due to growing concern over rising levels of childhood obesity. According to the World Health Organization, worldwide a total of 22 million children under the age of five are already overweight. In the United States, the number of children who are considered overweight has doubled since 1980, while the number of adolescents considered overweight has increased threefold. Likewise, the number of obese adults around the world has tripled since the 1980s, to 300 million.

The FTC praised the voluntary measures taken by some large food and beverage companies to limit their marketing to children, and called for the expansion of such programs.

Sources for this story include: www.foodnavigator-usa.com.

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