|Received:||8/10/2005 5:00:09 PM|
|Organization:||Child Care Health Program, Public Health--Seattle and King County|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Food Marketing to Kids Workshop|
|Docket ID:||To Be Added|
Comments:Thank you for taking public comment on this very important issue. As a public health nutritionist working with young children I feel very strongly that the United States should follow the lead of Sweden, Norway and Finland and not allow marketing targeted to children under the age of 12 years. The recent Kaiser Family Foundation report on "The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity" and the recent report from the American Psychological Association (APA) on Advertising and Children support this position. The APA report states that most children under the age of 8 years of age do not comprehend the persuasive intent of advertising. Therefore children in this age range are very vulnerable to commercial persuasion. All advertising to children too young to recognize the persuasive intent of the messages is exploitative. Why then does the United States allow this exploitation of children???? Industry cannot be expected to police themselves in this matter. This is very unrealistic. We know that industry uses psychological techniques to convince children, and adults, that they need to buy products. When profit is at stake how can we expect industry to make the best decisions for our children. It is apparant that industry will stoop to any level for a profit, even if it impacts the physical and mental health of our children. The Kaiser Family Foundation report lists a number of theories for how media may contribute to childhood obesity. One of the items listed is: "The food advertisements children are exposed to on TV influence them to make unhealthy food choices". Another is: "The cross-promotions between food products and popular TV and movie characters are encouraging children to buy and eat more high calorie foods". I frequently talk with parents who tell me that their children demand particular food products, that they have seen advertised on TV, at the grocery store. The parents are at a loss as to how to deal with these repeated demands from their children who are bombarded with advertisements. We cannot expect parents to have the skills and resources to conuneract the billions of dollars spent by food manufacturers to market unhealthy products to their children. Please ban advertising to children under the age of 12 years.