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Physicians group calls for legislation to regulate digital advertising and its effect on kids

CNN

To help protect kids from the harmful effects of digital advertising and data collection, the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on lawmakers to ban all advertising targeted to children under the age of 7. The group is urging limits to advertising aimed at those under 17.  Read the article here

 

 

Kellogg’s pulls Pringles ad from Joe Wicks ‘PE with Joe’ YouTube show

The Guardian 
At the height of lockdown in April, a “pre-programme” ad for Pringles appeared to an unspecified number of the hundreds of thousands of children (and their parents) who tune in to PE with Joe exercise sessions online every weekday morning. Barbara Crowther, Children’s Food Campaign spokeswoman, said: “Placing this ad directly before Joe’s hugely popular children’s daily PE class is a total betrayal of his work, and highly insensitive, irresponsible marketing. Children don’t need more salt, more saturated fat, more sugar, more excess calories being pushed to them during a pandemic, or indeed at any time.” Read the article here

Trevor Hancock: Standing up to help secure our children’s future

The Times-Colonist (Victoria, BC)

Trevor Hancock discusses the health impacts of poverty and inequality, and commercial activities like marketing to kids that harm children. Both were included in A Future for the World’s Children?, the February 2020 report from the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission. Read the article here

A little scoop: Unilever will stop marketing to kids in an effort to curb childhood obesity

Washington Post

Food giant Unilever has vowed to stop marketing its products to children by the end of this year in order to tackle rising obesity rates. The firm said it would limit the use of cartoon characters in its advertising and also promised to stop using social media stars or celebrities “who primarily appeal” to children under 12.   Read the article.

Healthy commercial ads don’t change teens’ desire to eat junk food

The University of Michigan News

According to new University of Michigan research, teens who had greater responses in reward centres of the brain when viewing commercials for unhealthy foods from fast food restaurants ate more junk food in a simulated fast food restaurant. A key finding from the study shows that healthier commercials from fast food restaurants are unlikely to encourage healthy food consumption because restaurant logos and branding trigger cues associated with the sale of predominantly unhealthy foods.

You can read the article here and find the study here (paywall)

Coke, crisps, convenience: how ads created a global junk food generation

The Guardian

New research claims that blanket exposure to promotional material for unhealthy foods is encouraging children to eat badly around the world. 100 schoolchildren in seven countries were asked by researchers from University College London to film themselves and the food they eat for a study about the exposure of children to unhealthy diets. The accompanying policy-analysis shows that policy responses to address diet-related non-communicable diseases remain largely inadequate with responses anchored around individual behaviour change and personal responsibility.

You can read the article here

Action on restricting marketing to kids happening now

All levels of government can protect children from exposure to food and beverage marketing – and we already have examples of innovative provinces and municipalities taking action!

Recognizing that a national response was required to the steady increase in childhood obesity, the Ministers of Health and Health Promotion/Healthy Living endorsed Curbing Childhood Obesity – A Federal, Provincial and Territorial Framework for Action to Promote Healthy Weights (2010). One of the policy areas identified was to decrease the marketing of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and/or sodium to children and progress is reported in a biennial e-report.

On the provincial front, Quebec was an early leader globally in protecting children from advertising through their Consumer Protection Act.  With legislation being introduced in the early 1980s, companies were no longer allowed to advertise to children under age 13.

Also noteworthy, in Ontario, the Healthy Kids Panel report (2012) made a recommendation to change the food environment including banning the marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods, beverages and snacks to children under age 12. Recently, this recommendation was endorsed by over 25 organisations that collaborated on the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy.

At the municipal level, the Toronto Board of Health has shown committed action for over 30 years, advocating for comprehensive restrictions on commercial marketing targeted at children. It is no surprise with this commitment that Toronto Public Health is a supporting member of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition. Last year, Toronto Board of Health used their voice to support the federal ban on marketing to kids and continues to raise awareness about the importance of restricting marketing to kids.

Other municipalities are also taking action to restrict marketing to kids by endorsing the Ottawa Principles or exploring municipal policy options including the Middlesex-London and Ottawa public health boards.

There is still more to be done at all levels of government in Canada to protect children from marketing of food and beverages, but action is taking place. Find out more about how individuals, schools, communities and governments can get involved in the Heart and Stroke Report on the Health of Canadians.

By Elizabeth Holmes, Health Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society

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5 actions government can take to protect children from food and beverage marketing

Government action is necessary to protect children from exposure to food and beverage marketing. The federal government has taken a great step forward by committing to introduce restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, but action is also important at the provincial and municipal level. Here are five ways governments can take action to support parents and from the harmful effects of food and beverage marketing:

  1. Restrict exposure to food and beverage marketing in public places where children gather including childcare settings, schools and school grounds, libraries, public transit, recreation centres, parks, playgrounds, sporting or cultural activities, as well as hospitals.
  2. Conduct a review of food and beverage marketing and sole-sourced contracts. Results can help provide a clearer understanding of marketing in child-focused settings and can highlight opportunities to create healthier food environments.
  3. Endorse the Ottawa Principles which call for the restriction of commercial marketing of all food and beverages to children aged 16 and under, with the exception of non-commercial marketing for public education.
  4. Review zoning restrictions close to child-focused settings including schools and playgrounds, in existing neighbourhoods and in new developments as they are planned. It is easier to put restrictions in place before new schools and child-focused settings are built instead of after the fact.
  5. Educate Canadians about the risks associated with unhealthy food and beverage consumption through public awareness and education campaigns. Provincially, media literacy can be included as part of school curriculum to address marketing to children.

Check out some of the ways that innovative Canadian provinces and municipalities are already taking action here. Let’s build on this momentum. Send an e-card and let government know that stopping marketing to kids is important to you and call on them to take action.

By Elizabeth Holmes, Health Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society
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