Recently, Walt Disney Company announced they will phase out the advertising of junk food on its child-directed television channels, web sites and radio stations and will update their nutrition standards. It's time for Nickelodeon to stop advertising junk food to kids, too.
Nickelodeon produces many wonderful programs that both entertain and educate children. However, the commercials featured during those programs advertise foods that contain unhealthy levels of fat and sugar.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years and the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. The children in that age demographic are precisely who are being targeted with these ads.
Food and beverage advertisers are spending between $10 and $15 billion dollars a year advertising to our children. They do this because it works: the more junk food is marketed to children, the more junk food children eat.
I applaud Nickelodeon for already taking steps in the right direction by making sure that their characters are not promoting unhealthy foods. Yet, they can do more.
The market is changing and parents are becoming increasingly more aware of what they are feeding their children. As a result, what is good for our children can also be good for Nickelodeon’s bottom line.
The health and wellbeing of our nation’s children is at risk. Please, Nickelodeon, ban these harmful advertisements and strengthen your nutritional standards.