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The US government decided that the problem of obesity amongst children in America has gone far enough and will be stepping in to regulate. The government will be limiting what foods can be advertised to children.
Data from the National Health and Examination Survey shows that about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
According to the New York Times 11 food giants, including McDonald’s, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo, have already agreed to stop advertising products that do not meet nutritional standards to children 12 years old and younger.
“We are hopeful that people will look at this and say that the community has done a substantial, enormous amount of work,” Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers told the New York Times.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus and its Children’s Advertising Review Unit will be reviewing these companies marketing plans and will report to the public on their findings.
The Times reports, according to industry estimates, advertisers spend almost $900 million annually on television made for children younger than 12.
“This is great public relations for the companies, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough,” said Susan Linn, co-founder of the Boston-based group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “It is going to be impossible to monitor if the companies are actually doing what they say.”
Obesity currently results in an estimated 400,000 deaths a year in the United States and costs the national economy almost $122.9 billion yearly.
Obesity and weight gain are caused by consuming more calories than the body needs. It is most commonly cause by having a poor diet, consuming high calories, fatty foods, and living an inactive lifestyle.
Obesity impacts more than people’s lifestyles, it can also lead to lower self-esteem, cause depression and can cause people to be uncomfortable in social situations; Obesity can considerably weaken someone’s quality of life.
The government stepping in plays a role in the fight against childhood obesity. But parents need to do their part as well. To avoid childhood obesity, parents should incorporate healthy diets and exercise into their children’s daily lives.
Both children and parents should participant in activities that involve physical exercise and limit the time watching TV, playing video games or on the computer.