Marketing deemed a health risk factor

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[new york and london] In the public health debate over rising obesity, the World Health Organization is considering marketing aimed at children one of the risk factors. The WHO will draft global recommendations over the next 18 months, said Stephan Loerke, deputy managing director of the World Federation of Advertisers, after a strategy-planning Global Advertising Summit in New York last week. "We've learned from past errors to present a united front," he said. "Even companies with no direct stake in food advertising are involved." Plans include expanding the Advertising Education Forum's Web site on advertising to children ( and bringing to the U.K. a Canadian media literacy program called Media Smart to teach critical viewing of advertising to 6-to-11-year-olds. Media Smart includes teaching materials for schools, Web sites for kids, teachers and parents, as well as TV ads.

Separately, the European Union's Parliament voted last week to make a tobacco advertising ban more severe by dropping amendments that would have allowed tobacco ads in print, radio, the Internet and local sponsorship.

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