October 6, 2011—Oakland, CA: With the release today of We're Not Buying It, national health and safety advocates Prevention Institute shine a light on the food and beverage industry tactics that put our kids' health at stake. Prevention Institute is calling on parents, families and health advocates to ask President Obama to protect kids' health by supporting strong voluntary guidelines for food marketing currently under consideration.
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.
"Food companies spend $5 million every day to bypass parents and go directly to kids to lure them with foods parents want them to eat less of. Food companies should have more respect for parents and help families eat better, not worse," says Prevention Institute Managing Director Leslie Mikkelsen, RD. "Parents can't change what foods are marketed to their kids, but food companies can. There's a lot more these companies can do to support the health of children."
The voluntary federal guidelines under consideration, developed through a coalition of nutrition and media experts from federal agencies called the Interagency Working Group, would ask companies not to advertise their most unhealthy foods to kids, using science-based standards. But food companies have spent big bucks trying to avoid even voluntary accountability for their food marketing practices.
Food companies have a poor record when it comes to monitoring themselves. Prevention Institute's 2011 study, Claiming Health: Front-of-Package Labeling of Children's Food looked at packages with front of package labeling—symbols that identify healthier products and could be marketed to kids—and found that 84% of products studied didn't meet basic nutritional standards. In 2007, Where's the Fruit? found that the majority of foods marketed to children in packages with fruit on the front contained little or no actual fruit at all.
"One out of three kids is projected to become diabetic, and the federal government has come up with science-based, voluntary guidelines that will help parents steer their kids towards healthy foods," says Claiming Health author Juliet Sims, RD, MPH. "When we put children first, the plan of action is clear: companies should market the foods that keep kids healthy, not sugary cereals and other junk food. The IWG guidelines will help to do just that."
Prevention Institute, Berkeley Media Studies Group, Center for Digital Democracy, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (Yale University) and Public Health Law & Policy are calling for President Obama to step in and protect the IWG voluntary guidelines for food marketing to children.