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Originally published May 8 2007

Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood blasts TV promotion of junk foods to children

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

In the wake of findings that food is the most-advertised product on television programming viewed by children, the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) recently issued a statement calling for "policies that will protect children from junk food marketers."

CCFC's Dr. Susan Linn made the statement in response to the Kaiser Family Foundation's report, "Food for Thought: Television Food Advertising to Children in the United States."

"This invaluable report clearly demonstrates the extent to which children are targeted with television commercials for unhealthy food. And, unfortunately, TV ads on television are only the tip of the iceberg. Television programs and movies also market unhealthy food to children through extensive brand licensing, promotions at fast food restaurants, and product placement," wrote Linn.

The Kaiser Family Foundation's study analyzed more than 8,000 advertisements using detailed data about the viewing habits of children in three age groups. Researchers found while children of all ages are bombarded with promotions for fast food, junk food and soda, 8- to 12-year-olds see the most food advertisements. This market, the "tweens," is especially important to advertisers because it encompasses the ages at which youngsters typically begin to make some of their own buying decisions.

According to Linn, "We know that marketing is a factor in the childhood obesity epidemic. It is unconscionable that 8-12-year-olds see, on average, more than 7,600 food commercials a year -- the vast majority for candy, snacks, cereals, and fast food. This report is the latest indication that, when it comes to children, the food and advertising industries are incapable of policing themselves."

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, advocacy groups, educators, and parents. CCFC has been active in the fight against BusRadio -- a commercially sponsored radio channel designed for a captive audience of children on school buses. Reflecting the marketing strategies of television advertising, BusRadio focuses on the "tween" market, promising advertisers "a unique and effective way to reach" children in this age group.

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