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Yea or Nay: Who's to blame for your fat kid?

October 5, 2010 | 11:41 am

Check out this provocative piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. It zeros in on a perceived link between childhood obesity and the barrage of advertising aimed at convincing children that sugary cereals and junk food are fun. It also comes at a time when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering banning the use of toys to sell foods that have too much fat, sugar and salt.

It all comes down to this: If your kid is fat, who is to blame? Advertisers? The parents? And what should government do about it, if anything?

One highlight from the article, which takes advertisers to task, particularly those willing to spend billions to keep kids' eyeballs on their products.

Today, those with the greatest influence over our food culture routinely deny culpability for this health crisis, even as they use political influence, billions in financial resources and ubiquitous marketing to maintain the status quo. For instance, the last time limits on the marketing of junk food to kids were imposed, Big Food leaned on Congress to strip the Federal Trade Commission of such regulatory authority. That was 1981, marking the beginning of a 30-year rise in the rates of childhood obesity, diabetes and other diet-related conditions.

What do you think? Is this just an example of left-leaning San Francisco politics? Is it time to crack down on this kind of kid-directed advertising? Or is it Mom's job -- and Dad's too -- to put a halt to the sugary cereal and junk food?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter.com / renelynch