Online Program

Blurred Lines: Responsible food marketing to kids through the eyes of public health and the business sector

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 11:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Margo G. Wootan, DSc, Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC

Studies show that food marketing causes children to want more and eat more of the foods marketed to them.  This is a public health concern because most of the food marketed to children are of poor nutritional value.  Marketing not only affects what children are willing to eat at home, but also in restaurants, childcare, afterschool programs, and school. 

Food marketing to children policy has a long and challenging history.  Given the difficult politics on the issue, advocates have primarily relied on self-regulation to address food marketing to children.  In 2006, food and beverage companies joined together to form the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative through the Council of Better Business Bureaus.  Thus far, 18 companies have pledged to scale back their marketing of unhealthy foods to children through the CFBAI.

Our comparison of the HER marketing recommendations to current industry policies show that companies are especially falling short on covering their marketing on-packages, through toys and premiums, and in schools.  They also have a limited view of who children are, covering only children 11 and under, rather than through age 14 as recommended by the HER expert panel. 

The Healthy Eating Research Recommendations for Responsible Food Marketing to Children provides an opportunity for advocates to work with companies to update and strengthen their food marketing to children practices and policies.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe current policy, self-regulatory, and advocacy efforts to decrease unhealthy food marketing to children Describe differences between the Recommendations and existing industry practices and how the Recommendations will move the field forward in reducing unhealthy food marketing to children Explain current and ongoing work of public health advocates with industry to broaden coverage of food marketing to kids through self-regulation

Keyword(s): Marketing, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-founded and now co-lead the Food Marketing Workgroup, a coalition of more than 200 national, state, and local organizations and experts identifying, investigating, and advocating changes to marketing practices that undermine health. In addition, I participated as an expert panel member on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Healthy Eating Research, Recommendations for Responsible Food Marketing to Children.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.