Canadians back ban on junk food ads targeting kids


mentalfloss
#1
Canadians back ban on junk food ads targeting kids

OTTAWA — The majority of Canadians strongly support an outright ban on junk food marketing aimed at children, a new government-commissioned survey has found.

More than half of those surveyed (53 per cent) said they are strong supporters of banning all marketing of high-fat, high-sugar or high-salt foods aimed directly at kids and youth. Six in 10 strongly support restricting this type of junk-food marketing.

Support for the taxation of junk food and sugary drinks is also "high," with a significant minority strongly supporting slapping a special tax on soft drinks (40 per cent) and junk foods such as chips and candy (37 per cent) to fund programs to fight childhood obesity.

The idea of a tax on soft drinks has taken off in some jurisdictions in the United States and Europe, but not in Canada.

Meanwhile, a solid majority of Canadians strongly support requiring fast food restaurants to list nutrition information on their menus and companies to provide straightforward nutrition info on the front of food packages. Seven in 10 support these labelling moves to provide greater clarity for consumers looking to curb their intake of sodium, fat or sugar.

The survey and accompanying focus groups, commissioned by the Public Health Agency of Canada (external - login to view) to gauge the public's appetite for government initiatives to combat childhood obesity, illustrate some schisms between public opinion and how far governments are willing to go.

For example, the province of Quebec is in the minority with its ban on junk food advertising aimed at children. But during eight focus groups held in Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg and Montreal to further probe attitudes about childhood obesity, participants "expressed concern, often unprompted, with the widespread marketing of unhealthy food choices," the report states.

"This issue was seen as a major contributor to the problem of childhood obesity. Furthermore, there was a general agreement that this issue needed to be addressed if Canada was truly serious about dealing with childhood obesity."

Meanwhile, despite solid support for requiring fast-food chains to disclose nutrition info on their menus, provinces have not made this mandatory. Provinces like British Columbia are opting for voluntary programs such as Informed Dining, which involves a directional statement on the menu or menu board advising customers that nutrition info is available upon request — usually in a pamphlet.

And while survey respondents expressed an interest in clearer nutrition info on the front of food packages, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq recently defended the way food companies label their food products after a U.S. government science panel concluded in October that front-of-package nutrition messages confuse consumers.

Aglukkaq said consumers in Canada already have "the tools they need to make healthy food choices when they shop for groceries."

Steve Outhouse, a spokesman for Aglukkaq, said Monday that provinces are free to pursue junk food marketing bans at the provincial level. He also said the food and restaurant industries can make labelling adjustments to meet consumer wishes.

But Outhouse quashed the idea of any federal support for a tax on soft drinks.

"Polling is done to gauge public sentiment. Obviously, we don't use it to form public policy," he said.

Last year, health groups called on Parliament to support an excise tax of one cent per litre in order to reduce consumption of soft drinks and help fight the rising number of Canadians who are overweight or obese.

Based on the amount of soft drinks consumed in Canada every year, the Quebec-based Weight Coalition estimates a tax on soft drinks would generate $36 million in revenue that could be reinvested in health promotion programs.

The Ipsos Reid survey of 1,222 Canadian adults was carried out last March, with a margin of error of 2.8 points. The accompanying focus groups were held last June.
 
DaSleeper
+2
#2
The nanny state again taking over for parents who can't do their job.............
 
petros
+3
#3  Top Rated Post
I can get behind it. Nanny or not. Chips and Pepsi is NOT a food group.
 
mentalfloss
+1
#4
Banning ads is kinda like inhibiting freedom of speech, isn't it?
 
Machjo
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

The nanny state again taking over for parents who can't do their job.............

Parents have enough on their hands without unscrupulous marketers targeting kids.

That said, opposing junk food ads would also bring problems of its own. When we first restricted cigarette advertizing, cigarette companies could then better compete price-wise since we had lifted the burden of trying to outspend each other in advertizing, kind of like an imposed truce between them, thus allowing them to redirect those savings towards lower prices.

Of course the government solved that problem by raising taxes on them.

But just be wary that just banning such ads would be anotehr such imposed truce among junk food companies, helping them reduce advertizing spending and thus competing price-wise which could again encourage more consumption of junk food.

but again, that could be countered by higher taxes on junk food too.
 
petros
+2
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Banning ads is kinda like inhibiting freedom of speech, isn't it?

We already ban ****ing swear words.
 
Machjo
+2
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Banning ads is kinda like inhibiting freedom of speech, isn't it?

There is a difference. Advertising is not about expresing oneself but rather simply trying to sell something. Unlike freedom of speech, advertizing is pure business.
 
TenPenny
+2
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Parents have enough on their hands without unscrupulous marketers targeting kids.

So, part of your argument is that parents are too busy to be parents?
 
Ariadne
#9
Hopefully, Canadians won't devolve to this sort of oxymoron.

In the US, pizza as a vegetable. First they claim food in schools has to be healthier, then they redefine junk food as healthy.

"Thirty years ago, the Reagan administration caused quite a stir when, as part of an effort to save money on school-lunch programs, it considered a proposal to count ketchup as a vegetable. The idea generated widespread ridicule at the time.
The Associated Press reports that a similar argument is unfolding in Washington once more. The Obama administration, hoping to combat childhood obesity and related health issues, has pushed to bring healthier foods to public schools, following the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.
Congressional Republicans have other ideas (external - login to view).

The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.
Or, put in a sound-bite sort of way, Republicans think pizzas are vegetables."

Political Animal - Tomato paste, like ketchup, is a GOP vegetable (external - login to view)

"They have affirmed that pizza is a vegetable. Yes, the tomato sauce on pizza is enough for American politicians to define it and allow it to be served as a vegetable in school lunch programs across the US."

Is pizza a vegetable? Well, Congress says so | Lizz Winstead | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk (external - login to view)
 
TenPenny
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by AriadneView Post

Hopefully, Canadians won't devolve to this sort of oxymoron.

In the US, pizza as a vegetable. First they claim food in schools has to be healthier, then they redefine junk food as healthy.


That's because the food lobby wants to make sure their particular type of prepared food is eligible to be funded by school lunch programs.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#11
How bout we just legislate new standards for Junk Food Vendors.

Lentil Carrot Burger anyone?

 
petros
#12
I'll hold off for dessert, I like carrot cake and my wife makes it with free range eggs.
 
Ariadne
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

That's because the food lobby wants to make sure their particular type of prepared food is eligible to be funded by school lunch programs.

It just seems to me that it's a circular propaganda event. Junk food is bad. Let's ban junk food. Junk food includes pizza. What isn't junk food? Tomatoes aren't junk food. Tomato paste comes from tomatoes. Tomato paste is put on pizza. Tomatoes are a fruit but let's call it a vegetable. Therefore, pizza is a vegetable. What kind of crazy people can come up with that sort of reasoning and get away with it? Only in the US, I suppose.
 
petros
#14
Pizza is actually really damn healthy.
 
Ariadne
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Pizza is actually really damn healthy.

I would agree that it can be healthy, but I doubt that pizza by the slice sold to teenagers is healthy.

I don't think that changing junk food availability has much to do with anything. I think that people's eating habits, metabolism and all that stuff is set very early in life. I think that lots of daily exercise throughout childhood determines overall lifelong body weight. If parents provided healthy meals at home throughout childhood and established daily exercise or sports, fat children would not exist. Once people get fat as children, they are kind of stuck with it for life.
 
Goober
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Banning ads is kinda like inhibiting freedom of speech, isn't it?

Well Harper will not do a thing about the high intake of sodium. Packaged food is loaded with sodium.
Lower sodium levels are proven to lower heart attacks.
 
TenPenny
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

Well Harper will not do a thing about the high intake of sodium. Packaged food is loaded with sodium.
Lower sodium levels are proven to lower heart attacks.


Is Harper forcing you to eat sodium?
 
Goober
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

Is Harper forcing you to eat sodium?

No - We also have rules regarding food safety. Many people eat packaged foods - hard to get away from that.
 
Machjo
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

So, part of your argument is that parents are too busy to be parents?

Not normally. But when unscrupulous marketers who couldn't give a crap about children's health and who are willing to use all those years of university marketing and psychology classes to their own benefit at the exepense of parents and children, then yes. Remember too that some parents are single, and not always through any fault of their own (widow(er)s for instance).

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Pizza is actually really damn healthy.

Oh yes, I'd oppose taxing finished products, but only ingredients. So while no pizza would be taxed, cheese might be for example, along with pepperoni, whereas flour, vegetables etc. would not be. Therefore, certain ingredients would be more expensive.
 
TenPenny
+1
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

No - We also have rules regarding food safety. Many people eat packaged foods - hard to get away from that.

Well, no, it's actually not hard to get away from that. Don't eat it. Don't blame someone else for the fact that you eat crap.
 
Goober
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

Well, no, it's actually not hard to get away from that. Don't eat it. Don't blame someone else for the fact that you eat crap.

I eat fairly healthy - I read the labels - even low sodium claims are bogus - Problem is that high sodium is standard in many foods, sauces etc.

And we will not even go into what the sodium levels are in restaurants.
 
L Gilbert
+2
#22
I don't know that this will make much difference. Kids are fat because of lack of exercise more than anything. I support the idea of cutting back on crap food ads for everyone, though. It isn't just kids that are fat.
I'd support putting a tax on any foods with ingredients that cause higher risk traits, as well.
Then all we would have to do is get people to exercise, as well as getting Liberal and whatever other gov'ts to stick to using that money for healthcare alone instead of scooping it in non-health areas.

Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

The nanny state again taking over for parents who can't do their job.............

Someone should if parents aren't willing to do it.

Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Banning ads is kinda like inhibiting freedom of speech, isn't it?

Only if you consider companies to be people. I don't. Companies are just tools people use to make profits, IMO.

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

We already ban ****ing swear words.

Do they cause health problems? lol

Quote: Originally Posted by AriadneView Post

Hopefully, Canadians won't devolve to this sort of oxymoron.
In the US, pizza as a vegetable. First they claim food in schools has to be healthier, then they redefine junk food as healthy.
"Thirty years ago, the Reagan administration caused quite a stir when, as part of an effort to save money on school-lunch programs, it considered a proposal to count ketchup as a vegetable. The idea generated widespread ridicule at the time.
The Associated Press reports that a similar argument is unfolding in Washington once more. The Obama administration, hoping to combat childhood obesity and related health issues, has pushed to bring healthier foods to public schools, following the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.
Congressional Republicans have other ideas.
The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted...

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post
Hey! Leave my pizzas out of this! They are not junk food. They contain grains, vegetables, and protein foods. They can't really even be considered to be fast foods even. lol

Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

How bout we just legislate new standards for Junk Food Vendors.

Lentil Carrot Burger anyone?

Cool. I wouldn't mind a burger like that. I like carrots. It's that tofu crap that's weird.

Quote: Originally Posted by AriadneView Post

It just seems to me that it's a circular propaganda event. Junk food is bad. Let's ban junk food. Junk food includes pizza. What isn't junk food? Tomatoes aren't junk food. Tomato paste comes from tomatoes. Tomato paste is put on pizza. Tomatoes are a fruit but let's call it a vegetable. Therefore, pizza is a vegetable. What kind of crazy people can come up with that sort of reasoning and get away with it? Only in the US, I suppose.

Yup. They do some weird things over there. Bush, Cheney and other such dipshytes passed a law making companies the same as people. So Frito Lay, Coca Cola, Exxon, etc. are persons over there. Go figure.

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Pizza is actually really damn healthy.

Right on, Petros!

Quote: Originally Posted by AriadneView Post

I would agree that it can be healthy, but I doubt that pizza by the slice sold to teenagers is healthy.

I don't think that changing junk food availability has much to do with anything. I think that people's eating habits, metabolism and all that stuff is set very early in life. I think that lots of daily exercise throughout childhood determines overall lifelong body weight. If parents provided healthy meals at home throughout childhood and established daily exercise or sports, fat children would not exist. Once people get fat as children, they are kind of stuck with it for life.

Actually people's metabolisms change throughout their lives. Habits can change, too. But I agree that parents should get their kids used to eating healthy foods right from day one. That way kids stand a better chance of continuing the habit in later years.

Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

Well Harper will not do a thing about the high intake of sodium. Packaged food is loaded with sodium.
Lower sodium levels are proven to lower heart attacks.

Just about anything in a grocery store is packaged. You mean processed foods, I think. Stuff like Sandwich meats, salad dressings, etc. I think.

Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

Well, no, it's actually not hard to get away from that. Don't eat it. Don't blame someone else for the fact that you eat crap.

Yep. Buy whole foods and process them yourself. They taste better anyway, IMO. Wife and I can a lot of food and make our own salsa, tomato paste, and we have a butcher that makes our moose sausage and whatever else using no salts and other crap.
 
Goober
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post


Actually people's metabolisms change throughout their lives. Habits can change, too. But I agree that parents should get their kids used to eating healthy foods right from day one. That way kids stand a better chance of continuing the habit in later years.

Just about anything in a grocery store is packaged. You mean processed foods, I think. Stuff like Sandwich meats, salad dressings, etc. I think.

Yep. Buy whole foods and process them yourself. They taste better anyway, IMO. Wife and I can a lot of food and make our own salsa, tomato paste, and we have a butcher that makes our moose sausage and whatever else using no salts and other crap.

Yes, that is what I was referring to. Also pre packaged ready to eat meals. Full of crapola.
And indeed Pizza is heatlhy, when you include vitimin B - Beer.
 
Ariadne
#24
Stable, structured environments are best for children. Today's rushed lifestyle is probably what led to unhealthy eating, but if people would slow down and establish routines around meals, I think children would naturally gravitate towards healthier foods. I had never eaten a hamburger until I was about 18 years old ... that first time was when I was out with friends and they encouraged me to try it. How is that possible? It was quite simple. I was raised by people that grew up or lived with war when some foods were sparse. The rule at the breakfast and lunch table was that we were allowed to put one thing on each slice of bread ... reasoning probably being that the bread was cheaper and would fill us up. One piece of bread, one slice of ham ... open sandwich style. We could eat as many open faced sandwiches as we wanted, but we weren't allowed to eat all the ham and cheese and whatever else we wanted on one slice of bread. This also meant that the breakfast and lunch tables were set ... with all the possible sandwich toppings on the table for the meal ... like sliced strawberries, chocolate chips (Dutch style), herring, sardines and other weird stuff . Setting eating habits early in life kind of stays with people for life. Hamburgers are loaded with all sorts of things like cheese, pickles and cooked beef at the same time ... that's a bit weird unless it is the norm. Children that are loaded up with kraft dinner & ketchup, alphagetti, hotdogs, pizza, french fries, food that is camouflaged by the flavours of other foods and other junk foods probably gravitate towards those foods for life.

Simple open faced sandwiches for breakfast and lunch probably seems so old fashioned and weird in todays culture, but I'm pretty sure it could go a long way towards setting healthier lifelong eating habits. Parents today should try some of those old fashioned habits and see if children are generally healthier while making better food choices.
 
karrie
+2
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

The nanny state again taking over for parents who can't do their job.............

I'm curious how you think parents should/would combat the plethora of 'consumption equals happiness' messages that our children are inundated with. Just.... as a parent I haven't quite yet figured out what specifically 'my job' is supposed to be to battle that mentality.
 
L Gilbert
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

Yes, that is what I was referring to. Also pre packaged ready to eat meals. Full of crapola.
And indeed Pizza is heatlhy, when you include vitimin B - Beer.

Oh, it definitely is a good meal if vitamin B is added. lol

Quote: Originally Posted by AriadneView Post

Stable, structured environments are best for children. Today's rushed lifestyle is probably what led to unhealthy eating, but if people would slow down and establish routines around meals, I think children would naturally gravitate towards healthier foods. I had never eaten a hamburger until I was about 18 years old ... that first time was when I was out with friends and they encouraged me to try it. How is that possible? It was quite simple. I was raised by people that grew up or lived with war when some foods were sparse. The rule at the breakfast and lunch table was that we were allowed to put one thing on each slice of bread ... reasoning probably being that the bread was cheaper and would fill us up. One piece of bread, one slice of ham ... open sandwich style. We could eat as many open faced sandwiches as we wanted, but we weren't allowed to eat all the ham and cheese and whatever else we wanted on one slice of bread. This also meant that the breakfast and lunch tables were set ... with all the possible sandwich toppings on the table for the meal ... like sliced strawberries, chocolate chips (Dutch style), herring, sardines and other weird stuff . Setting eating habits early in life kind of stays with people for life. Hamburgers are loaded with all sorts of things like cheese, pickles and cooked beef at the same time ... that's a bit weird unless it is the norm. Children that are loaded up with kraft dinner & ketchup, alphagetti, hotdogs, pizza, french fries,...

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post
Open faced sandwiches are fine, but there's also nothing wrong with 2 pieces of bread on each side of tomato, lettuce, cheese, and a slice of ham. That's 3 food groups in a bundle, like pizza. A parent should pay attention to how much a kid eats and compare that with how much the kid needs to eat. Calories can add up if a kid doesn't do anything to exercise.

Quote: Originally Posted by karrieView Post

I'm curious how you think parents should/would combat the plethora of 'consumption equals happiness' messages that our children are inundated with. Just.... as a parent I haven't quite yet figured out what specifically 'my job' is supposed to be to battle that mentality.

Yeah, that's a tough one. I'd suggest trying to limit a kid's exposure to ads until a decent, healthy view on diet can be installed into the kid.
 
karrie
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by L GilbertView Post

Oh, it definitely is a good meal if vitamin B is added. lol

Open faced sandwiches are fine, but there's also nothing wrong with 2 pieces of bread on each side of tomato, lettuce, cheese, and a slice of ham. That's 3 food groups in a bundle, like pizza. A parent should pay attention to how much a kid eats and compare that with how much the kid needs to eat. Calories can add up if a kid doesn't do anything to exercise.


See, here's where the whole system falls apart, and where the government is finally starting to panic and scramble (although I do agree with the crux of your post).... eventually kids move out. They get jobs, their own money, time unsupervised, and they make choices based on flashy ads and the promise of gratification. The result is an obesity epidemic that doesn't encompass merely kids, it encompasses the adults raising them, and the adults they will become as well. They're trying to get down to the very root of it. And trust me... I've sat in enough classes on the cognitive causes of obesity in recent months to know that targeting the marketing is step one. Maybe if we can at least eliminate a tiny fraction of the marketing that tells us to consume for every last little thing that hurts or depresses us, then we can start clawing our way back up.
 
L Gilbert
#28
Well, I still think the first step is to get parents to get the kids into decent diets to begin with.
We didn't starve our kids from having a bit of junk food now and then, but we first got it into their heads that those occasions of junk food eating were a treat, not a regular habit.
 
karrie
+1
#29
i agree. my kids have probably the best rounded diets of any kids I know. We kept junkfood out of the house except for company occasions. No juice, no cookies. McD's perhaps once or twice a year on road trips.

It's not a magic bullet. My kids still struggle. I still struggle. Thus my inquiry to those who think they know 'the' way to avoid the problem... lol.
 
Cannuck
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Not normally. But when unscrupulous marketers who couldn't give a crap about children's health and who are willing to use all those years of university marketing and psychology classes to their own benefit at the exepense of parents and children, then yes. Remember too that some parents are single, and not always through any fault of their own (widow(er)s for instance).

Another fact is that kids today are inundated with imagery and sales pitches everywhere. It has become unrealistic for parents to try and parent their kids the way past generations have. When I was a kid, mom didn't work outside the home, there were three channels on the TV, one or two radio stations and no internet or social media. It's a different world today and I get a kick out of the old farts that think that because they were able to raise their kids in a particular fashion 30 years ago, everybody should be able to do it today.
 

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