Max Oliva, Associate Director, Social Impact Management
It is interesting to see today’s FT main story, which relates to Mars pulling out child adverts. They are to stop marketing confectionery to children younger than 12 by the end of the year, which relflects mounting concerns about the links in advertising and childhood obesity.
Masterfoods’ move is according to FT “the biggest shift in marketing policy by a large food group since European officials threatened companies with regulation two years ago”. Soft drink companies have done a similar move, agreeing to stop advertising to children under 12, although only in Europe (Coca Cola does it globally).
Is this a move which is to be followed by other competitors? Is it to take place only in Europe or on a world wide scale? Is corporate responsibility a stronger driver than legal “incentives” in order to make companies act?
Take a look at Responsible Advertising and Children.
Take a look at Mars’ 1983 TV ad “A Mars a day helps you work, rest, and play”.


Harrell Graham February 6, 2007 - 8:12 am

Why is America so Fat?
Regarding your article on obesity in America, I think you missed something. What if there were a chemical that food companies could put in food that would make people eat more than they otherwise would and thereby boost the profits of those food companies? There is indeed such a chemical and its name is monosodium glutamate (MSG). Having essentially no taste of its own MSG has, however, the startling effect when mixed with food of stimulating the nerves and brain to make it seem like something ‘exciting’ is happening in the mouth. It makes you ‘chow down’ more and faster. Furthermore, through damage to the hypothalamus and/or due to a lowering of glucose levels, the resulting feeling of hunger also makes one eat more food than is needed.
You might wonder if researchers have ever tested the role of MSG in causing obesity. Indeed they have: laboratory animals when fed a diet containing MSG become obese and control animals fed the same diet without MSG are normal weight. One reason researchers haven’t conducted more research on human subjects is because of the toxic effects of MSG on the nervous and other bodily systems. (When neuroscientists need to efficiently kill nerve cells in the lab they will use MSG to do it).
Independent research has also uncovered strong links between MSG and headaches, mood and learning disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, and degenerative disorders of the nervous system, among others. The only research that shows MSG is not harmful is funded by the multi-billion dollar secretive MSG industry and is flawed research.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the food industry to put MSG in foods without having to use the word “MSG” on the label. MSG is hidden under names such as ‘flavors’, ‘natural flavors’, ‘yeast extract’ to name just a few. (See http://www.truthinlabeling.org for a complete list and documented research on MSG). Even the shelves of so-called ‘health food stores’ are stocked with food loaded with MSG—hidden, of course, under these code words.
By not writing about this basic but secretive additive to much of the food consumed in America and the world you sell your readers short. Even books purporting to be critical exposes of the Amercain diet, such as “Fast Food Nation”, missed the ‘MSG connection’.
Someday this scandal will, I predict, be as big as the harm caused by tobacco—and product liability lawsuits will be in the billions of dollars, just as they have been with the tobacco industry.
Harrell Graham
(US citizen currently living in Thailand at
674-1 Moo 15
T. KongNamLai, A.Klonglan
Kampangphet, 62180
(01166) 5578 6443 (home)
(01166) 86938 1321 (mobile)
Email: harrellgraham@yahoo.com

Lisa P November 28, 2008 - 11:48 am

There’s no doubt, America is a land rich in natural resources, and also in consumer access. Here we have so many things readily available for our use, such as fast payday loans, drinkable water, and fast food. In many countries around the world, they are not so fortunate, like in Haiti. In Haiti, mothers sometimes don’t get to choose what to feed their children, they get to decide which children to feed, and sometimes they literally eat dirt. This caused so many sick children there. Starvation is a global epidemic, but here we are fortunate in that most of us have more than enough, some say too much, to eat. We still have issues, however: America is the fast food nation. We love anything that is cheap and convenient, and the fast food chains have stoked that idea for decades, with no signs of slowing down. Too much fast food is one of the contributors to the obesity epidemic, and things are getting out of hand. American families are better off eating more nutritious items from the grocery store. The Catch 22 of the whole rotten mess is that the natural foods that we see in the produce isle are far more expensive than the greasy burgers from the drive thru. Not eating is a worldwide epidemic, and not eating healthily has become an American epidemic. Fast food is far more appealing when you’re on a tight budget, and a grocery bill can be a huge expense. If you need to feed your family well even though you’ve been nearly wiped out by a sudden expense, then fast payday loans can fill your empty wallet. Click to read more on Fast Payday Loans.

Chuck July 13, 2010 - 9:42 am

Obesity today is the one of the main problems in America. A lot of people and what is terable a lot of children suffer from it. I think parents must watch fro their children and what and when they eat. Advertisment has huge influense on children wishes. So we should control it more then ever.
Chuck from consolidate debt – http://consolidatedebtsloans.com/

Mark March 5, 2011 - 5:40 pm

I think obesity is out of hand. Companies like mcdonalds, etc. keep pushing their products on children which I think is a reason as to why most of the population here in the USA is overweight. I dont know, its something to consider – Mark from Free debt consolidation http://www.freeonlinedebtconsolidation.com

why its hard for children or teens to lose weight May 13, 2012 - 10:15 am

You cannot tell your child he is overweight or fat, he already knows it. Classmates tell him all the time. You cannot restrict his food or tell him to eat less while you or his siblings are eating bad food.

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