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Doctors Urge Ban on Junk Food Ads During Kids' Shows
Date:6/27/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- The nation's leading group of pediatricians is calling for a ban on all junk food and fast food ads during children's television shows as a means of slowing the rising tide of obesity among young people.

In a policy statement published in the July issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also asks Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate junk food and fast food ads on cell phones and other media, as well as to prohibit companies that make such products from paying to have their products featured in movies.

"Given that we are smack in the midst of an epidemic of child and adolescent obesity, it doesn't seem like all that bad an idea," said Dr. Victor Strasburger, lead author of the statement.

"We have many bans on advertising already," said Dr. Benard P. Dreyer, a professor of pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. This latest action identifies just one more toxic thing that children should not be exposed to, he added.

One-third of American children and teens are overweight or obese, double the proportion of 30 years ago, the AAP statement said, and several studies have identified TV watching as a contributing factor.

Watching TV or movies or being engrossed in texting or playing games on a cell phone means that children have less time to run, walk or otherwise exercise and more time to snack, according to the AAP statement.

But what kids are watching also influences their eating habits, and what they're seeing is a preponderance of commercials for high-sugar, high-fat foods. One study found that 98 percent of food ads seen by children on top-rated shows were for junk food. Another study estimated that young people see 12 to 21 food ads every day on average, for a total of up to 7,600 ads a year, the AAP statemen
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