“The evidence cited here shows that these marketing techniques, which remain prevalent, were specifically designed to attract children by blurring advertisement with entertainment content in a way that is now at odds with the terms of industry-led agreements” the study’s authors said. Read here…
The City Council passed a bill forcing restaurants to offer certain healthy beverages with kids’ meals. Read article here…
Join us and turn off your screens for Screen-Free Week April 30 – May 6
The Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition is proud to endorse 2018 Screen-Free Week—a coordinated effort to encourage millions around the world to turn off televisions, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles for seven days and connect more deeply with the world around them. Screen-Free Week is a chance for children to read, play, think, create, be more physically active and to spend more time with friends and family.
On average, preschool children spend over four and a half hours a day consuming screen media, while older children spend over seven hours a day. Excessive screen time is linked to a number of problems for children, including childhood obesity, poor school performance and problems with attention span.
While reducing screen time can help limit children’s exposure to slick ads for unhealthy food and beverages—it is not enough. Canadian children see over 25 million food and beverage ads a year on their favourite websites. Robust federal restrictions are essential to protect all children from the health impacts of pervasive unhealthy food and beverage marketing where they live, learn and play.
The Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition endorses Screen-Free Week as a great initiative that challenges us to dedicate time to activities beyond our screens, that enrich health and wellbeing—through relationships, literacy, learning and play.
Join us April 30 – May 6 for Screen-Free Week! Visit screenfree.org to learn more.
By Ashley Hughes, Registered Dietitian and Coordinator for the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition
Screen-Free Week is coordinated by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a national advocacy organization devoted to reducing the impact of commercialism on children. Since Screen-Free Week’s founding in 1994, it has been celebrated by millions of children and their families worldwide. For more information, visit www.screenfree.org
The Epoch Times
“A food policy issue both experts agree on is the new legislation banning the advertising of unhealthy foods to children. The Child Health Protection Act is now in its second reading in the House of Commons and is set to be passed this year”. Read article…
On January 6, 2008, I lost a vibrant, healthy and much loved 15-year-old son. I believe a contributing cause to his death was consumption of an energy drink sample at a sporting event. You can read more about my son’s death on my facebook awareness page.
Industry marketed directly to my son.
Since then, I have done extensive research on the potentially fatal effects of energy drinks and marketing to kids. Three deaths associated with energy drinks are documented in Health Canada’s database, all teenage deaths (1). It has been estimated that for every adverse report filed, up to ten go unreported. My research strongly suggests the unreported number may be much higher.
Experts continue to question the safety of energy drinks’ ingredient cocktail, not just their caffeine content. There are no long-term studies that prove the safety of energy drinks. On the contrary, emerging research strongly suggests they pose a public health threat. In 2010, Health Canada appointed an Expert Panel on Caffeinated Energy Drinks. They came back with very strong recommendations to mitigate safety concerns related to these products — most of which were never addressed.
Energy drinks are the worst case example of industry marketing an unhealthy – and potentially dangerous product – to children and youth. This must stop.
My three primary goals are to:
- Protect children and youth from the potentially fatal effects of energy drinks. First, by treating these products like tobacco, alcohol, and fireworks, through a ban on sale to minors. Second, through federal legislation restricting the commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children.
- Raise awareness of the potential dangers of energy drinks through education programs, point of sale signage, and separate shelf placement.
- Encourage more research on the health risks associated with caffeinated energy drinks.
Currently, there is nothing to stop industry from marketing to another young member of my family. This must change. Voluntary self-regulation by industry of marketing to children has proven an abysmal failure. Regulations with stiff penalties are needed to mitigate the risk energy drinks and their abusive marketing pose to children and youth.
I’ve voiced my concerns on several occasions and continue this dialogue with all levels of government in Canada. On June 8, 2010, I appeared as a witness in Ottawa before the Standing Committee on Health. More recently, I presented to the Toronto Board of Health (March 20, 2017), and the Ottawa Board of Health (April 3, 2017).
On January 6, 2016, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau, I offered my strong support for the Liberal campaign promise to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. I implored the Prime Minister to give special consideration to energy drinks and related caffeinated energy products when developing those regulations. More so, I stressed that children and youth are bombarded with the adventurous and trendy marketing associated with these drinks. Teenagers must also be protected from abusive marketing, not just those 12 and under.
No other family should have to live with the questions that my family does. Sadly, I have connected with several others families who have shared similar losses, more than one of them in Canada. They all share my suspicions.
I urge you to take action. Tell government to restrict the commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children and youth. Send an e-card to your MP letting them know marketing to kids must stop. Together, our message is stronger. Food and beverage companies must be told, our kids are not their business.
By Jim Shepherd
- Canada Vigilance Summary of Reported Adverse Reactions. Canadian Vigilance Database. Health Canada. December 19, 2013. Accessed via: CanadaVigilance@hc-sc.gc.ca
The Huffington Post | Yves Savoie, CEO of Heart & Stroke
We need to use every tool to fix our unhealthy diets It is encouraging to see federal government moving in several important areas to help Canadians make better food and beverage choices We can’t cure heart disease or diabetes. But we can help prevent or delay them and other chronic illnesses in one vital way — with a healthier diet. Read more…
Which brings me to the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to our kids, especially sugar-rich products they do not need and that are contributing to the epidemic of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. Here is another situation where government is not doing enough to protect us from harm. Read article here…
Eat This! How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back) will be published by Red Deer Press this year. Eat This! is a guide to recognizing the marketing tricks companies use to sell foods and beverages to children. Learn about the increasingly complex and subliminal tactics used to market to kids. Find out what others are doing to combat them, and what you can do to help. Andrea Curtis is an award-winning writer for adults and children. She has a longtime interest in food politics. Joining Andrea, is Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, a project of charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming, and Helena O’Donnell Project Manager of the Irish Heart Foundation’s advocacy campaign Stop Targeting Kids.
To view or download a PDF copy of the slides, click the links below: