Several months ago, we asked you to send a letter to your governor asking him/her to improve the foods and beverages available on state property. Those letters resulted in progress in a few states, but more work needs to be done. Right now, state legislators are getting ready for the next legislative session; please ask them to improve the foods and beverages on state property.
This year, the Walt Disney Company announced it will no longer accept advertisements for junk food on its child-directed television, radio, and online sites. Disney also updated its nutrition standards for foods that can be advertised to children. Meanwhile, almost half of food ads viewed by kids are seen on Viacom programming, which includes Nickelodeon.
Eating out at restaurants is no longer a rare treat saved for a special occasion. Families eat out twice as often as they did in 1970s, with children consuming about a quarter of their calories at fast-food and other restaurants. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of children's meals at the nation's largest chain restaurants are high in calories; many also are high in salt and saturated fat.
The Topps Company has plastered the characters from DreamWorksAnimation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2" all over packages of Blow Pops, and their advergame site features "The Dragon Berry Dash," where kids can "powerup" their dragon by consuming Ring Pops, Push Pops, and Baby Bottle Pops. They get double points if they enter in a code from the candy package.
It used to be that candy was an occasional treat for kids. No longer! Instead, candy is a significant source of calories in kids' diets, beating out the calories they get from burgers, fries, pancakes, or waffles.
Some candy companies have stopped advertising their candy on children's television networks like Nickelodeon. Other companies, however, continue to hawk empty calories to kids, urging them to spend their pocket money and nag their parents to buy confections they can't afford nutritionally.