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Most people are aware that the incidence of childhood obesity is rapidly rising, both in the US and around the world.  Currently 17% of children are considered obese. And this overweight trend will continue to plague children into their adult years leading to more chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Research has shown that one of the primary causes of obesity is the plethora of high calorie/low nutritional value foods that are available.  These high fat, low nutrient foods are easy to find, relatively inexpensive, and marketed frequently on our airwaves.

In his opinion article “The Right to Sell Kids Junk,” Mark Bittman asks the provacative question whether companies have the right to market “junk foods” to kids.  He explores whether trying to stop manufacturers from marketing to kids is an infringement on the first amendment.  In his article, he states “It’s been reported that kids see an average of 5,500 food ads on television every year, nearly all peddling unhealthy foods. In addition there are also online advergames that distract kids with entertainment while immersing them in a product-driven environment (create your own Froot Loops adventure!)”  Bittman asks should food companies have this much access to our children without safeguards and is it a first amendment right if the marketing is “inherently misleading?”

To read more of Bittman’s opinion piece, go to the New York Times:

OPINION | March 27, 2012

Mark Bittman: The Right to Sell Kids Junk