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Are You Buying It? Food Ads & Advocates Set to Square Off


On October 6, 2011, the Prevention Institute–a national non-profit organization committed to preventing illness, fostering health and building momentum for community prevention–launched a new video called We’re Not Buying It. It sheds light on the many negative health effects food marketing has on vulnerable children, and serves as a call to action for parents, families and health advocates to ask President Obama to support strong voluntary guidelines for food marketing that are currently be considered by the government. And just a few days ago I reviewed a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics for msnbc.com. The study suggested food commercials had more of an impact on young kids’ food choices than parental input.

As stated on the Prevention Institute’s web site,

“From soda companies using school marketing campaigns disguised as charities, to food package labeling that misleads parents, We’re Not Buying It takes just two minutes to debunk industry claims that they’re trying to be part of the solution in the fight for kids’ health. Parents alone simply can’t compete with the $2 billion a year the food and beverage industry spends selling kids foods that are laden in sugar, salt and fat, the video reveals.”


The voluntary federal guidelines that are currently being considered were developed by the Interagency Working Group, a coalition of nutrition and media experts from federal agencies, ask companies not to advertise their most unhealthy foods to kids. And only time will tell if the voluntary guidelines will take hold or instead, be trumped by those opposed to such guidelines including Congressman Lee Terry. Stay tuned for results from congressional testimony on this topic set to take place on Wednesday, October 12th.

You can read more about the push to have government support voluntary marketing guidelines by the Centers for Science in the Public Interest and by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

What say you? Should food companies need to follow certain guidelines when marketing foods and beverages, or is it simply up to parents to help their kids ignore the ads, resist temptation, and make more healthful food decisions? Please Share your thoughts below.

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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books and is currently working on her first novel. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook.

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