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SpongeBob SquareMeal?
Detail: Responding to critics, children's TV shows and food giants are promoting healthy eating to kids.

Many of these steps are in response to alarming reports of obesity in the last few years among children and adults. In its last report, the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences, said some 9 million children older than 6 -- or 15% of kids -- are obese and that the rate of childhood obesity in the last 30 years has tripled among those aged 6 to 11.

With childhood obesity under the microscope, activists have been aggressively pointing their fingers at cartoon networks and at food companies for using popular cartoon stars to lure children into eating foods high in sugar, fat, and salts.

The US is in the forefront of the change being seen in TV adds, fast food menus and the altered, more healthy, messages of TV characters, now being requsitioned to encourage more healthy eating in younger children. Marketing of food to children is understood as a key area which contributes to the problem and therefore is a key area for change.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Health & Human Services Dept. jointly sponsored a workshop on July 14 and 15 to examine perspectives on childhood obesity and marketing. At the conference, FTC commission chair Deborah Platt Majoras warned that even though a government ban on children's food advertising is not warranted at this time, it would be unwise for the industry to maintain the status quo. "If industry fails to demonstrate good-faith commitment to this issue and take positive steps, others may step in and act in its stead," she said.

Source: Business Week Online
Weblink:see below

Source of report from the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences:
Title: Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance
Published on 30th September 2004
Date: July 25 2005