Marketers, Media Get Chewed Out About Childhood Obesity

FCC Officials and Senator Want More Health-Oriented Advertising

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WASHINGTON (AdAge.com) -- A Republican senator and three FCC commissioners demanded marketers and media companies join together to act fast to address the problem of childhood obesity.
FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said the issue has gone from a national problem to a 'national crisis.'
FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said the issue has gone from a national problem to a 'national crisis.'

At the first meeting of an government and private-industry ad hoc task force on childhood obesity, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a GOP presidential candidate, called on its members to put together a new proposal by July. "The last thing we need is another report," said Michael Copps, a Federal Communications Commission commissioner. "We need a plan of action."

'Just unacceptable'
"Nineteen percent of kids are overweight. That's just unacceptable," Sen. Brownback said. "We must take responsible action to protect the nation's children."

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said the issue has gone from a national problem to a "national crisis."

Neither cited specific ideas, but FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate said that if she had a magic wand, her list would include a commitment by marketers to alter their TV ads. She would like ads aimed at children to focus on healthful foods and products.

The task force was formed by Sen. Brownback, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and the FCC commissioners, but it has no official government role. Companies represented on the task force include Walt Disney Co., Telemundo Group, General Mills and PepsiCo. In addition, the task force includes representatives of health and consumer groups.
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