With childhood obesity rates and poor eating habits on the rise, marketing has reappeared as a public health issue in recent years. Marketing can impact children's physical health by normalizing unhealthy behaviours and by encouraging consumption of unhealthy products. Listen to the Stop Marketing to Kids podcast (or view transcript).
In April 2016, the Toronto Board of Health took a strong stance against all marketing to children. It was motivated by the evidence showing that young children lack the cognitive abilities to understand marketing messages and that the current advertising environment is dominated by ads that undermine parents’ efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity.
Toronto Public Health is also part of the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition that is advocating for restrictions on food and beverage marketing to children. The coalition's vision is to help create an environment where parents and children can make healthy and informed food choices that are free from commercial influence.
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- The Stop Marketing to Children: A Window of Opportunity report presented by the Medical Officer of Health at the Toronto Board of Health meeting on April 11, 2016.
- Food and Beverage Marketing to Children
- Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity? (2006) U.S. Institute of Medicine
- The Food Marketing Defense Model: Integrating Psychological Research to Protect Youth and Inform Public Policy (2009)
- Self-regulation by industry of food marketing is having little impact during children's preferred television (2011)