Kaiser Arms for Potential Online Food Fight

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The Kaiser Family Foundation, a veteran voice in the childhood-obesity debate, will release a study July 19 that it bills as the most comprehensive to date on "the nature and scope of online food advertising to children."

Among the issues it will raise is whether "current government regulations concerning TV advertising to children should be applied to the Internet, and if so, how?"

Current FCC regulations limit ads in children's TV and put limitations on how those shows may direct kids to online sites that might contain advertising or advergames. Those rules are not yet in effect, however, while the FCC considers a compromise to those rules that were offered up by activists and industry, both of which had taken the rules to court.

The FCC is currently pondering that compromise, with both side planning to brief new commissioner Robert McDowell on the changes in the near future.

Among the other questions on the table for a panel discussion to accompany the release of the study are:

"How widespread is online food advertising that targets children?; How do food company websites use advergames and viral marketing to engage children?; Do these sites have an impact on children or not?; and "What self-regulatory measures have the food and advertising industries adopted?"

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