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Junk food advertising and kids

By February 19, 2008 - 10:26am
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Where do you stand on the government putting limits on television advertising for junk food that is aimed at kids -- similar to existing limits on alcohol and tobacco ads? Would you favor a government limitation or oppose it?

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If parents pack a healthy lunch for their kiddos at school, will they trade their food for less-healthy alternatives (or, is that just what they do in movies?).

I don't know...just curious to hear from moms, dads and guardians on this one. How much control do we, as care takers, really have when our children are at school or at a friends' house?

February 23, 2008 - 2:11pm
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I think most cereal IS junk! I mean...Count Chocula says it all!

As much as I want the government out of our lives as much as possible, something has to be done about childhood obesity and their diets in general. If the parents aren't doing it, shouldn't the government step in? But yes - who decides what...and why? And will we be opening the door to Big Brother? I don't think it'd go that far and these companies should not have absolute freedom to target small children for profit.

In general, as Tina said, there should be limits on junk food ads to kids. Some corporate responsibility please!

But really, as I think we all know, it comes down to us - the parents. My kids can see as many signs for McDonald's as they want but unless I say yes, they are not going in and my oldest just turned 4 and has still never eaten there and is perfectly normal and content! My kids can scream for a pop tart all they want but it's up to me to buy the oatmeal instead. The can cry for soda but it's up to me to insist on milk or water.

Really - unless the parent is opening up their wallet and buying the junk, our kids are safe until at least Kindergarten and by then we should have instilled some pretty healthy eating habits.

Schools have an absolute responsibility to provide healthy meals and healthy options and to take away these pop machines and vending machines full of junk. I know that schools need the money but at the childrens' expense? And parents can always pack healthy lunches.

I have already checked my children's school menus (my oldest doesn't even start Kindergarten for another 18 months!) and their 'healthy' choices were dreadful (nothing against our feathered friends but chicken nuggets are not what I would call a healthy choice) and I plan to brown bag it for all of them. It's a pain to do but it's called parenting and if more of us parents did the hard stuff as well as the fun stuff, our kids wouldn't consider French fries their daily serving of veg!

February 22, 2008 - 2:17pm

Don't we have enough taxes? It's getting to the point at which people have nothing left to pay the bills. Add up the total amount of taxes you pay: income (Federal, State if applicable), sales, property, luxury if applicable, gas, vice, etc. It will be astonishing! To add one more tax on one more level of food is ridiculous.

I agree with the idea of having programs in place to educate people in making healthy choices.

February 21, 2008 - 5:08pm

Government regulation, including limiting advertising to increasing "sin taxes" is a hot debate!

On one hand:
Government has long history of increasing taxes on products that are "unhealthy", i.e., alcohol and tobacco. Why would junk food be any different, when health care costs are rising from obesity and related lifestyle diseases, and US deaths from obesity are increasing at a rate higher than that of cigarette smoking?

On the other hand:
Defining "junk food" is almost impossible (as my earlier statement: would kid's cereal be considered junk?!). Higher taxes, or less advertising, don't necessarily equate to behavior change, and we should have more programs in place to help the individual make healthy choices.

Where do you stand on this issue?

February 21, 2008 - 2:53pm

Interesting question...even *if* there were some regulation on advertising junk food, would kid's cereals be defined as a "junk food"? Some children's cereals have as much as 40% sugar by weight! yikes!

February 21, 2008 - 2:44pm

I would expect government to overturn the decision to define ketchup as a food before showing the audacity to intervene in advertising junk food to kids. I believe the parent should assume responsibility for teaching their children good health habits; that government should provide good information; that schools should be able to provide healthful meals. Junk food may be a huge contributor to obesity in children; however, let's look first to the parent to take the lead in educating the child. Let's educate the parent. Let's not become the manifestation of Brave New World.

February 19, 2008 - 7:35pm
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