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The PJ Tatler

Bridget Johnson


June 10, 2013 - 6:49 am

Senate Democrats are going to lead an effort today to pressure Nickelodeon to stop airing commercials that market unhealthy food to kids.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will announce the Senate letter to the children’s programming network at a press conference at his Hartford office this morning with Jennifer Harris of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale.

For years, nutrition groups have been on Nickelodeon’s back for putting its characters on products such as Kraft Mac & Cheese and Pez dispensers. The food industry successfully battled back against the Center for Science in the Public Interest effort last year, noting that first lady Michelle Obama has hailed the network in the past for helping with her “Let’s Move!” campaign.

“This year, the Walt Disney Company announced it will no longer accept advertisements for junk food on its child-directed television, radio, and online sites.  Disney also updated its nutrition standards for foods that can be advertised to children. Meanwhile, almost half of food ads viewed by kids are seen on Viacom programming, which includes Nickelodeon,” CSPI says in an online petition. “The food and beverage industry spends $2 billion per year advertising food to children. Kids aged 2-11 years old see an average of 13 food ads a day, mainly promoting unhealthy foods. This contributes to our country’s obesity epidemic; one in every three children is overweight or obese.”

Last year, the Walt Disney Corporation announced that it would no longer accept advertisements for unhealthy foods on television, radio and websites directed at children, Blumenthal’s office notes.

CSPI claimed in March that nearly 70 percent of the ads on Nickelodeon are pitching “junk foods,” including “sugary cereals, candy, yogurt with added sugars, fast food and other restaurants, and snacks.”

“Nickelodeon congratulates itself for running the occasional public service announcement promoting physical activity,” said CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan. “But for each of those messages, it’s running 30 ads for junk food. Nickelodeon is clearly doing far more harm than good when it comes to the health of America’s young people.”

It’s not known yet which other senators have signed on to the pressure effort.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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I'm glad all the other problems have been solved.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When the Senate can balance a budget, they can teach me how to raise my son.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Funny how the party that presents itself as non-religious is also the most fanatic and puritanical.

I have a question for any Liberal / Democrat trolls lurking around; your side repeatedly tells the Conservatives that they need to "stay our of our bedrooms" because we have a right to privacy. So far so good, I happen to agree with that.

But why then aren't Liberals obligated to "stay out of our kitchens"? Wait... stop... before you say anything about health risks or how it's "for our own good" you have to answer me this: why does preventing obesity justify violating our personal choices but preventing unwanted pregnancy, STDs (including AIDS) and the other problems that stem from promiscuity doesn't? I'd be curious to hear if you have some kind of logical answer to that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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