Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Marketing to Children and Youth - a significant unattended public health issue.
Only in Quebec is food advertising directed at children supposedly precluded. However the effectiveness of this intervention is limited by the volume of non-provincial markets that cloud the Quebec airways. More central to the discussion is why have we not seen national or other provincial leadership on this issue. As usual Quebec remains a decade ahead of the rest of the country in many of its public health initiatives and should be appropriately commended.
Several groups have called upon federal regulators to limit targeted marketing to children including Canadian Pediatric Society and Hypertension Advisory Committee. Others have alluded to the need to address marketing without attempting yet to take a stance and something we should be carrying to respective organizations to engender a firmer policy.
A recently posted primer on Marketing to Children and Youth by the Nova Scotia Department of Health is a must read. It clearly identifies the pitfalls that marketing to youth can lead to including
· Marketing can normalize unhealthy behaviour and encourage unhealthy consumption of unhealthy products.
· Marketing tactics can negatively impact mental and emotional health and well-being.
· Marketing can limit our freedom of choice.
The well written review holds no punches when it comes to displaying a disdain for current marketing techniques used by many businesses to influence youth decisions. Certainly not your typical government sanitized publication.
The commentary takes specific aim at:
· Processed Food
· Sweetened Beverages
· Energy Drinks
In an uncommonly but refreshing fashion, the document provides a solid list of to-dos for public health professionals and lays out a specific provincial plan for Nova Scotia that would be applicable everywhere except in Quebec.
The must read can be found at Marketing to Children and Youth a Public Health Primer