July 16th, 2012
Ban on Advertising to Children Linked to Lower Obesity Rates
By CATHERINE MUSEMECHE
New York Times
Last weekend I met a couple whose children are not permitted to discuss movies or video games at school. The children donít watch television, have limited computer access and have only seen movies pre-screened by their parents.
There was a time when I might have viewed these restrictions as a bit excessive, but not anymore. With whatís being thrown at kids through media exposure these days, Iím all in with an environment that seeks to filter some of it. As a doctor who treats children, many of whom are overweight or obese, I donít think there can be much doubt that child-directed advertising is fueling the obesity epidemic. Now, a recently published University of British Columbia study supports that theory with findings that suggest that banning fast-food advertising to children may actually curtail obesity.
Researchers found that a 32-year ban on fast-food advertising to kids in electronic and print media in Quebec resulted in a 13 percent reduction in fast-food expenditures and an estimated 2 billion to 4 billion fewer calories consumed by children in the province. While the rest of Canada has been experiencing the same explosion in childhood obesity seen here in the United States, Quebec has the lowest childhood obesity rate in Canada.