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The Cost of Adjusting Children’s Waistlines

In: Business and Management

Submitted By sigaran
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Public interest groups have become increasingly critical of the food industry. Childhood obesity has become epidemic in the United States. According to the American Journal of Business Education, “One-third of the population of US children is considered obese and two-thirds of the adult population falls into the same category.” A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation states that between the time periods 1963-1970 and 1999-2000, the percentage of overweight children aged 6 to 11 skyrocketed from 4.2 to 15.3 percent. (341). Many feel that this is a result of the food industry’s targeting of young children with deceptive advertisements promoting unhealthy processed foods. In January 2005, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated claims that McDonald’s violated New York State’s consumer protection act by falsely advertising the health benefits of its food. (341).
Responding to the public pressure, Kraft Foods in January 2005 made a major shift in their corporate marketing policy. (341). They would stop advertising such products as Kool-Aid, Oreo cookies, Chips Ahoy cookies, and selected varieties of Lunchables and Post cereals in television, radio and print ads directed at children younger than 12. (342,343). In so doing, Kraft was conceding that such advertisements might, in fact, adversely impact the health of young children. According to Michael Mudd, a member of Kraft’s “obesity strategy team,” Kraft made this decision to avoid a decades-long court battle with public interest groups similar to that experienced by the tobacco industry. (340,341). Soon afterward, though, Kraft joined General Mills and Kellogg in lobbying the federal government to not issue regulations that governed the marketing of foods to children. (343). The position of the lobbyist group was that a correlation between advertising to children and increased childhood obesity had…...

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