Who encouraged more like begged you to buy that colorful, sugar-laden cereal? Probably not an adult in your house, and that's no accident.
The Federal Trade Commission reported that the nation's largest food and beverage companies spent about $1.6 billion in 2006 marketing their products to children.
The report, according to the AP, was sought by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and is a result of lawmakers' concern about growing obesity rates in children. Companies were required to turn over confidential financial data, and the FTC looked at how much companies were spending targeting youth, and what venues were being used.
Soda marketing came in at the top $492 million spent followed by restaurants and cereals. Companies used all media to market to kids televisions ads, supermarket displays, tie-ins with movies, and increasingly the Internet.
Senator Harkin is quoted in the article: "This study confirms what I have been saying for years. Industry needs to step up to the plate and use their innovation and creativity to market healthy foods to our kids."
The article says that the Institute of Medicine in 2005 concluded that marketing practices from the food and beverage industry are out of balance with recommended diets for children, and could contribute to factors putting children's health at risk. However the commission noted that the report was done in a year when food and beverage companies had committed to reduce the marketing of unhealthy products.
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