September 5, 2003

Last fall a coalition led by the Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston, MA, held a summit at the Yale Club in downtown Manhattan. It coincided with the annual Advertising and Promotion to Kids Conference and Golden Marble Awards.

Over a dozen prominent researchers presented shocking evidence of rising rates of obesity, juvenile diabetes, eating disorders and child health research. It was pointed out, at the time, that some of the research, itself, was underwritten by corporate dollars and thus skewed.

The good news is that the Golden Marble Awards themselves, handled from head offices in Toronto, have been cancelled for this year. This, however, is just a fraction of what needs to be done to address the growing problem of corporate spending on marketing to children, now over $12 million a year and climbing.

Every year children consume almost 40 hours of media a week and see over 40,0000 TV commercials. Aggressive product marketing messages are even aimed at them in their classrooms. It is time we responded honestly to the impact of marketing to children whether it involves junk food, health debilitating products such as drugs, and alcohol or violence as entertainment. This fall, as our children return to school, lets stress the importance of healthy, physical activity and good eating habilts as an integral part of media literacy programs.

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Rose Anne Dyson, Ed.D.
Chairperson, C-CAVE
Author of MIND ABUSE Media Violence In An Information Age and co-author of MEDIA, SEX, VIOLENCE and DRUGS in the GLOBAL VILLAGE