FTC Seeks Comment On Food Marketing To Kids, Adolescents

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The Federal Trade Commission is seeking public comment on its proposal to conduct a new study food marketing to kids and adolescents.

The study would be a follow-up to the 2006 data published just last year. It is proposing to seek more information from 45 food, beverage and fast food restaurant companies, including their child-targeted marketing activities and expenditures and nutritional information for the products.

The study was prompted by growing concern over childhood obesity, which is fast becoming the nation's top health risk.

The FTC wants to gauge how well the industry has self-regulated since 2006. That data was collected before the Council of Better Business Bureaus implemented its Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, which has resulted in changes to nutritional content and marketing practices.

Those included that companies 1) adopt "meaningful nutrition-based standards" for products marketd to kids 12 and under; 2) that food and beverage companies define kid-targeted marketing to include Web sites, digital ads, and viral advertising as well as more traditional means; and 3) that they limit character licensing to healthier foods.

At the time, the FTC said it would issue the follow-up report.

The new study wil include information aimed at adolescents (12-17), as well as kids 2-11, and seek information on marketing to youth of "a specific gender, race, ehtnicity, or income level.

Comments are due Nov. 23.