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Discovery Tries to Curb Junk Food Marketing

Kim Hart

Discovery Communications today announced that it would not allow the characters of its popular Discovery Kids channel to be associated with junk food. The decision is part of the network's battle against childhood obesity, according to to a press release. The characters of the kid-friendly programming can only be used in connection with healthy food. Birthday cake and other special-occasion sweets are the only exceptions.

The Federal Communications Commission applauded Discovery, which is based in Silver Spring. And several lawmakers, including Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), also showed their support.

How the makers of sugary cereals and other less-than-wholesome foods target kids has long been the source of debate in Washington, especially as childhood obesity and diabetes grow more prevalent.

The Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services and a national science advisory panel last year called on food companies to cut back on television advertising of junk food. In 2004, the FCC tentatively ruled to prohibit linking commercial content from children's programming on interactive digital cable systems. More recently, food companies came under fire for appealing to kids through online games and interactive features.

Discovery says one of the goals of its Discovery Kids programming is to teach kids how to lead an active lifestyle. It's also trying to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.

What do you think? Will Discovery's efforts actually steer kids away from junk food? Or will such marketing reach them anyway?

By Kim Hart  |  August 13, 2007; 6:05 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Lessee if I get this straight A TV channel...who lives off the fact that people are sitting on their butts watching them (instead of let's say, playing outside) is thinking that their marketing will somwhow get people off their butts and outside?

I don't get it.

Posted by: Byte | August 14, 2007 12:08 AM

I think it is Game industry NOT Discovery, which should try to curve Junk Food problem i.e. Sony, MS and Nintendo could be more decisive than TV channel.

Posted by: | August 15, 2007 9:29 AM

I think that instead of a $10.00 tax on cigars there should be a tax on Big Macs and the like. Seems to me obesity in kids is more of a health problem than an adult puffing on an occasional cigar

Posted by: charles kelly | August 19, 2007 5:03 PM

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