Posted by | July 25, 2010 22:20 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

I have mixed feelings about this one.  The New York Times reported yesterday that efforts to restrict advertising of unhealthy foods on kids programs (Saturday morning, Nickelodeon) is hitting a snag due to (surprise) industry opposition.

The federal involvement took a step forward last year when Congress ordered the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend standards for children’s food advertising.

The agencies released the preliminary proposal in December. It was far tougher than many had anticipated; advocates applauded but the food and advertising industries gave it a swift thumbs-down.

On the one hand obesity is a huge public health problem and the costs to all of us through health care subsidies and insurance rates is huge.  On the other hand, restricting freedom of speech must always be done with great care (banning cigarette advertising strikes me as a choice that was correct).

I guess as a parent who lets his kids eat chicken nuggets with an alarming frequency, I tend to be against bans on advertising and supportive of restrictions that prevent false claims of healthiness.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.