September 27th, 2011

Obama pressed to support restrictions on food ads for children

The Hill

Seventy-five experts in nutrition, marketing, medicine and public health wrote to President Obama on Tuesday to urge him to fight for restrictions on food advertising for children as the issue comes to a head in Congress.

Republicans and the food and marketing industries have assailed proposed voluntary guidelines aimed at curbing childhood obesity, and the House included a rider in its financial services spending bill blocking the recommendations. Senate Democrats, on the other hand, reiterated their support for the agencies’ work in their spending bill.

“While numerous factors contribute to obesity and children’s poor diets, food marketing plays a key role,” reads the letter to the president. “The Institute of Medicine’s comprehensive study of 30 years of research concluded that food marketing affects children’s food choices, food preferences, diets, and health. The $2 billion a year that food companies spend marketing to children is testament to the fact that food marketing works.”

The recommendations were developed by four federal agencies tasked with studying the issue under a 2009 spending bill.

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