Discovery Tries to Curb Junk Food Marketing
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?
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