If the government won’t outlaw food marketing aimed at children, dieticians say regulators should instead require that food ads include messages urging proper nutrition and exercise.
The $11 billion a year spent on food marketing aimed at children occurs "in a virtual absence" of nutritional information, says Susan Laramee, president of the American Dietetic Association. As a result, kids are gorging on sodas, candy and other snacks without giving their choices a second thought and becoming obese in record numbers, she says.
Laramee wants the Institute of Medicine, which is preparing recommendations on kids’ food marketing, to urge that a nutritional information requirement be among the recommendations. The Institute report was commissioned to help the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies decide whether kids marketing rules are needed.
"The problem is not that we are marketing foods to children," she says, "but that we are marketing poor nutrition to children."