As we have mentioned before, it is not enough to look at the “least worst” offerings by Big Food/Big Soda companies in an attempt to justify ties with health organizations. It is also important to look at behaviors and common practices.
The food industry has patted itself on the back for years for countless pledges and promises to decrease advertisements of unhealthy foods to children. By its account, it has made tremendous strides.
“But it’s too soon to give the industry a congratulatory high-five, according to Dale Kunkel, a professor emeritus of communications at the University of Arizona and one of the authors of [a recent] study,” NPR reports.
Kunkel and some of his colleagues decided to look into the matter further. Their results were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“Kunkel and his co-authors used a food-grading system known as “Go” (good to eat every day), “Slow” (good to eat a few times a week) and “Whoa” (eat only on occasion) to evaluate the kinds of foods advertised to kids.
Their analysis shows that in 2013, 75 percent of food ads targeted toward children by companies participating in the initiative “promoted products in the poorest nutritional category.”
Simply put, most foods marketed on TV to kids are “Whoa” foods. Companies may be reducing the amount of sugar or sodium in their products, or shaving down portion sizes, but they’re still not promoting nutrient-dense “Go” foods.”
It would surely help if health organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics expressed their disappointment at industry’s poor attempts at self-regulations. Perhaps that would be easier if ties to, and funding from, industry wasn’t a factor.