FTC Report: Advertisers Pushing Junk Food On Your Kids

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

A new report from the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday says in 2006, advertisers spent one and a half billion dollars pushing junk food on children. Congress called for the study because of growing obesity rates in the U.S.

For Grand Valley parents like Rachile Rushe and Garth Mason, the bright, cartoony ads plastered with junk food are getting out of control.

"Especially on kids shows, they're so brightly colored and they grab their attention," said Rushe.

"Generally they're advertising things that aren't very nutritious and they usually cost more," said Mason.

And they're not alone. Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission released a new report on just how much advertisers are spending to get your kids to eat junk food. Among the study's findings, almost $500 million was spent promoting soft drinks to children 12-17 years old, and cereal companies spent $237 million targeting kids under 12.

"They think it's so cool when you see the actions and they want to go out and get it because they want to do the same thing," said Rushe.

The Federal Trade Commission says it wants the entertainment industry to do more to promote healthy snacks. But for now, it's not planning to take any action against the firms.

"We're going to stay on this," said Lydia Parnes of the Federal Trade Commission. "We're gonna look and monitor this very carefully the self regulatory initiative."

It hopes a self regulatory program will be carried out by many of these food and beverage companies.

"If we see problems, those companies will hear from us," said Parnes.

In the meantime parents say it's all about striking the right balance between junky and healthy --

"I will keep a few small items like M&M's that he can have a little bit everday, but not a whole lot," said Rushe.

And sometimes stepping up and laying down the law.

"They recognize things in the stores," said Mason. "But like I said, we say no. We just keep exercising that no muscle and it's pretty strong."

The Federal Trade Commission says in addition to ads, things like fewer P.E. classes in schools, kids watching more TV, and video games are also reasons why 16 percent of the kids in this country are overweight.

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