Table 7

Potential strategies and policy recommendations on food advertising and marketing aimed at children

• Develop federal, state, or local policies to designate schools as food advertising-free zones, where children and adolescents can pursue learning free of commercial influences and pressures. Children's health should never be an acceptable "trade-off," no matter how severe the budgetary constraints in schools or communities. [44] If American public schools were adequately funded, in-school commercialism would be subjected to greater scrutiny, and schools would be less likely to enter into corporate agreements without more public debate. [90]

• Develop federal or state school policies that promote a healthful eating environment in schools. The sale of soft drinks and other high calorie, low nutrition foods should be prohibited during the school day in public schools.

• Congressional action to eliminate food advertising aimed at young children on children's television programs, such as morning, after-school, and weekend children's programs. Since the climate has not been favorable for regulation, interim means could be explored such as having stricter limitations on the amount of advertising permitted on children's television (e.g., no more than 5-6 commercial minutes per hour on programming which would reduce the current limits by about 50%), or by placing a monetary surcharge on advertising for high-calorie, low-nutrition foods targeted at youth. These funds could be used to develop nutrition and physical activity media campaigns and promotion programs to be overseen by a non-profit or governmental organization. As an interim step, guidelines for responsible food advertising and marketing aimed at children could be developed.

• Establish federal regulations to protect children from manipulative, invasive, and deceptive food advertising on the Internet. The FTC would be the most appropriate federal agency to develop such rules.

• Convene a White House or Surgeon General's Conference on food marketing and advertising aimed at children and adolescents and its effects on their health, and develop recommendations on this issue.

• Develop and disseminate school-based curricula that teach children and adolescents media literacy and give them life skills to be informed consumers of media.

• Build public support by increasing awareness among parents, educators, and consumers on the nature and extent of food advertising and marketing to children, especially young children.

Story and French International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2004 1:3   doi:10.1186/1479-5868-1-3

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