ARMCHAIR MAYOR: City and schools can lead the charge against junk food

Ottawa Citizen

A great OpEd by Dr. Yoni Freedoff, highlighting the important role that cities and schools have in improving our food landscape and health trajectories.


“…And while a great deal has changed over the course of the past 50 years, one of the most dramatic changes has been to food culture. There doesn’t seem to be an occasion too small to not warrant the use of junk food to reward, pacify or entertain, and is there a cause nowadays that isn’t encouraging an already overindulgent nation to purchase more junk food to fund children’s hospitals, schools, sports teams, kids’ clubs and more?

Though changing social norms is not likely to be quick or easy, leadership needs to come from beyond the grassroots if we’re going to see new healthy norms grow. Cities are in a unique position to play an important role.

Because it’s not enough to simply tell people to make healthier choices. Though I’ve seen signs stationed beside my local sporting arena’s vending machines encouraging potential customers to make low- or no-calorie choices, will a well-intentioned sign outweigh the fact that at the Walter Baker Centre (for instance), there are nine vending machines, 37 quarter candy slots, and a canteen that offers almost exclusively no-name fast food options? If education alone were sufficient to permanently change behaviour, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.”

Retweet Heart & Stroke: Some good food for thought from @YoniFreedhoff: cities are in a unique position to improve our food environment by removing the sale of junk food at city-run facilities including arenas, libraries and schools #Marketing2Kids

Public-health experts applaud New Brunswick’s decision to ban chocolate milk, fruit juice in schools

Seriously, Juice is Not Healthy

The New York Times

“Despite all the marketing and government support, fruit juices contain limited nutrients and tons of sugar. In fact, one 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is roughly what’s in a can of Coke”.
“Juice should no longer be served regularly in day care centers and schools. Public health efforts should challenge government guidelines that equate fruit juice with whole fruit, because these guidelines most likely fuel the false perception that drinking fruit juice is good for health”

Nancy Greene Raine on Olympic memories, staying active and fighting Tony the Tiger

Global News

Excerpts: Re: push-back on restricting Tony the Tiger || “This was a 50-year-old man talking about how important Tony the Tiger was. It just tells me how powerful [advertising] was, that even today, he has an emotional connection to that cartoon character… [t]hey know if they get brand loyalty at an early age they have a customer for life” – former Senator Nancy Greene Raine

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Half of food and drink TV ads seen by children are for unhealthy products – study

The Gaurdian

“Half of food and drink advertisements children see on television are for junk food, sugary drinks and outlets such as McDonald’s, prompting fresh calls for tougher action to limit exposure to them.

The research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies comes amid calls for the government to impose much tougher restrictions on the ability of food manufacturers and retailers to advertise junk foods as part of a crackdown on childhood obesity”. 

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Bill banning marketing of unhealthy food and drink faces final hurdle

Hill Times


The lobbyist registry shows that a campaign against the bill has also been raging behind closed doors.

Soft drink manufacturers, industry associations, broadcasters and advertisers have been speaking with Senators and MPs about this bill.

I say again—why would these groups spend so much time, energy and money on this if marketing to kids doesn’t work?

Industry recognizes that the most powerful lobbyists are kids themselves. Parents know how tempting it is to give in when their children pester them for junk food at the grocery store. Even people without kids know full well how insistent they can be when they want something in a store. Children, like parliamentarians, can be very loud, very insistent and very difficult to distract.

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YouTube stars might be encouraging children to eat more calories, finds study


Social media stars might be encouraging children to eat more unhealthy foods, new research suggests.

The study, conducted by the University of Liverpool, was devised amid growing calls for tougher restrictions on junk food advertising to tackle the obesity crisis. Read full article…

Food firms could face litigation over neuromarketing to hijack brains

The Guardian

Leading obesity experts are considering litigation against the food industry in the light of emerging research suggesting that junk food marketing could hijack a child’s brain.

Neuromarketing is of growing interest to food companies. Fast food, soft drinks and snack companies increasingly interact with children through social media and online games. Some are beginning to probe further, gathering information through brain scans about how unconscious decisions are made to eat one snack rather than another and targeting people’s susceptibilities. A report on food neuromarketing to children by the Centre for Digital Democracy in 2011 predicted “an explosive rise in new tactics targeted especially at young people”.

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Get kids in the kitchen early to promote healthy eating

Chronicle Herald

Gallant is one of many trying to combat fast food, overly packaged food, overly processed food and the onslaught of fast-food marketing that is making Canada’s kids unhealthy.

Andrea Curtis, Toronto author of Eat This!: How Fast-Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back), a playful, paperback guide for kids aged nine to 12, says one in three Canadian children is obese or overweight. “And we have skyrocketing rates of diabetes,” adds the mother of two teen boys.

“Fast-food marketing isn’t the only reason we have this crisis but if we can protect kids and educate them about healthy eating and have them ask key questions about fast-food marketing, fast food and sugary treats, we can change the toxic food environment.”

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What If We Didn’t… advertise food to children?

Mic Network

“The ethics of advertising anything to children has been long debated; a 1986 study looked at kids’ cognitive responses to advertising, finding younger kids were much more susceptible to advertising. Part of the problem with this marketing is that kids get hooked on food that isn’t great for them. Approximately 1 in 3 American children and teenagers is overweight or obese (mirroring the ratio of their adult parents), and research has shown junk food advertising contributes to the issue. Today, experts continue to study the practice of bombarding kids with food advertisements”.

Read article here