New Studies Show How Food Industry Targets Children

Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan


A pair of troubling new studies published today in the American Journal of Public Health shows just how the deck is stacked against parents when it comes to children’s nutrition.

Virtually the only foods that are advertised to kids are soft drinks, sweets, fast-food items, and other junk foods. Plus, we’ve known that fast-food companies aggressively market directly to kids with toy giveaways, cartoon tie-ins, and cross promotions with kids’ movies. And when you consider that fast-food chains site restaurants on kids’ routes to and from school, it’s as if society is setting up families to fail. Instead of making it easy for parents to raise healthy kids, the food industry is putting kids on a fast track to obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related disease.

Why can’t the food industry start using its marketing cleverness to sell fruits, vegetables, and healthy drinks and snacks to kids? Why do fast-food restaurants have to set up shop within a stone’s throw of so many schools? The food industry likes to put all the blame on parents and the young victims of the obesity epidemic. How does this industry dare lecture anyone about personal responsibility? What about corporate responsibility? 

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at] or Ariana Stone (astone[at]