Marketing Junk Food - Meeting Explores Ways to Reduce It

Meeting of health and child advocates to build support for addressing junk-food marketing to children

In 2007, the Center for Science in the Public Interest hosted a conference of child and nutrition advocates to discuss the state of food marketing to children, and to strategize how to reduce children's exposure to the marketing of low-nutrition foods.

The conference built on a 2005 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), entitled Food Marketing to Children: Threat or Opportunity?, which concluded that existing food and beverage marketing practices put children's long-term health at risk. The report also offered recommendations on ways in which various sectors could help improve the diets and health of children and youth.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, based in Washington, is a nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works to improve the safety and nutritional quality of the nation's food supply, and to reduce the damage caused by alcoholic beverages.

Key Results: The conference, entitled "Food Marketing to Children: Problems, Policies and Priorities," took place on April 17, 2007, in Washington. It brought together over 60 child and nutrition advocates from local, state and national organizations to:

  • Review the evidence regarding the impact of food marketing on children's diets and health.
  • Review the history of initiatives to stem junk food marketing to children.
  • Discuss the recommendations of the recent IOM food marketing report.
  • Build consensus for an advocacy strategy.

According to the project director, one of the chief accomplishments of the conference was the development of a national action plan to limit the marketing of unhealthy food to children. The plan includes the following strategies:

  • Engage key organizations and expand the number of organizations working on the issue of food marketing to children.
  • Limit the marketing and sale of low-nutrition foods and beverages in schools.
  • Track and publicize industry actions regarding the marketing of foods to children (both positive and negative), and encourage companies to do better.
  • Explore ways to limit marketing to children through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • Encourage the IOM to set nutrition standards for food marketing to children and, over the long term, to build support for reestablishing the FCC's authority to regulate food and beverage marketing to children.

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