October 14th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
The average American will spend $66.28 on Halloween this year, $20.29 of which will go toward candy purchases, according to the National Retail Federation. (Costumes are the No. 1 expense.)
But when trick-or-treating first became popular in the 1920s, children received whatever neighbors had on hand: apples, pastries, breads and even money. Flash-forward to the 21st century: We now spend $1.8 billion on Halloween candy each year—so, what has changed?
Read More:Halloween Candy Companies Have Brainwashed Us Into Buying
September 29th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to three companies that manufacture and market mouthwash products whose labels make claims about removing plaque above the gum line or promoting healthy gums.
No such benefits have been demonstrated, the FDA maintains.
Warning letters were sent to Johnson & Johnson (Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash), CVS Corp. (CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash) and Walgreen Co. (Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action).
Read More:Mouthwash Companies Warned About Making Unproven Claims
July 6th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
A new study reveals that children were exposed to fewer TV ads for sweets and beverages in 2007, but more fast food ads (as compared to 2003).
Past studies have demonstrated that TV advertising influences the short-term eating habits of children ages 2 to 11, and some research shows ads can also influence daily dietary intake. That’s why major U.S. food companies adopted the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in 2006, which held that 50% of child-targeted advertising would promote healthier products or good nutrition/healthful lifestyles.
But there was one significant problem: Each company had its own definition of “healthier,” according to Lisa M. Powell, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose research will appear in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Here’s what the researchers found:
- Between 2003 and 2007, daily average exposure to televised food ads decreased by 13.7% among children ages 2 to 5 and by 3.7% among children ages 6 to 11, but exposure increased by 3.7% among teens ages 12 to 17.
- Ads for sweets aired less often, with a 41% decrease for 2- to 5-year-olds, a 29.3% decrease for 6- to 11-year-olds and a 12.1% decrease for 12- to 17-year-olds.
- Beverage ads decreased by 27% to 30% across the three age groups, with substantial cuts in ads for sugar-sweetened beverages.
- But exposure to fast food ads increased by 4.7% for children 2 to 5, by 12.2% for children 6 to 11 and by 20.4% for teens 12 to 17.
Dr. Powell and her colleagues chalk up the last statistic to the power of branding. They also found a racial gap in advertising, with African-American children viewing 1.4 to 1.6 times as many food ads per day.
The researchers recommend continued monitoring of ads targeted toward children, as well as nutritional assessments for advertised products.
Read More:Kids See Fewer Sweets/Beverages Ads, But More Fast Food Ads
January 4th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
If your children enjoy Nickelodeon shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats, Drake & Josh or iCarly, they’re getting more than an entertainment break.
As I reported in June 2007, 88% of Nick’s advertising (TV, magazine, character-related) promoted junk food, according to a study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A new CSPI study reveals a negligible improvement: 80% of Nick’s ads encourage consumption of nutritionally poor foods.
While advertisers have pledged to produce more responsible advertising campaigns, their efforts remain lackluster, and studies show children are heavily influenced by fast-food branding.
“While industry self-regulation is providing some useful benchmarks, it’s clearly not shielding children from junk-food advertising, on Nick and elsewhere,” says Dr. Margo G. Wootan, CSPI’s nutrition policy director. “It’s a modest start, but not sufficient to address children’s poor eating habits and the sky-high rates of childhood obesity.
“Nickelodeon should be ashamed that it earns so much money from carrying commercials that promote obesity, diabetes and other health problems in young children,” she adds. “If media and food companies don’t do a better job exercising corporate responsibility when they market foods to children, Congress and the FTC will need to step in to protect kids’ health.”
For Your Child’s Organic Bookshelf
- Janey Junkfood’s Fresh Adventure
- Johnny’s Journey with His Junk Food
- Junk Food June
- The Race Against Junk Food
Read More:Nickelodeon Continues to Promote Junk Food