|NO FAST FOOD ADS|
November 2008 Journal of Law & Economics
I've been saying for a long time that limiting access to fast food would have a huge positive impact on the health of our children-heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. This new study agrees with me.
A ban on fast food commercials, as proposed in this study, would reduce the number of obese young children by 18%, and the number of obese older kids by 14%, researchers found. They also suggested that ending an advertising expense tax deduction for fast-food restaurants could mean a slight reduction in childhood obesity.
This is the first national study to show fast-food TV commercials have such a large effect on childhood obesity. A 2006 Institute of Medicine report suggested a link, but conclusive proof was lacking.
According to study co-author Michael Grossman, an economics professor at City University of New York, "Our study provides evidence of that link," And Lisa Powell, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Research and Policy, said that the study "has important implications for the effectiveness of regulating TV advertising."
The percentage of U.S. children who are overweight or obese has risen steadily from the 1980s. About a third of American kids are overweight or obese, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. For years researchers have been pondering the effects of TV advertising. Powell, for example, found fast-food commercials account for as much as 23% of the food-related ads kids see on TV. Others have estimated children see fast-food commercials tens of thousands of times a year.
This study is based on several years of government survey data from the late 1990s that involved in-person interviews with thousands of U.S. families. The researchers also looked at information about local stations in the 75 largest TV markets, including locally seen fast-food commercials and the size of viewing audiences.
I would be very happy to see no fast food zones around our schools and no television ads. Our children could only benefit.
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