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Children today spend as much as four and a half hours each day watching television and are influenced by the programming and advertising they see. In 2010, one out of every three American children is obese or overweight. As childhood obesity rises, there is an opportunity for the FCC to examine the impact of the media and children's television programming on this growing health concern.
Did you know?
- One in every three children (31.7%) ages 2-19 is overweight or obese. 1
- Obesity is estimated to cause 112,000 deaths per year in the United States 2
- One third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime 3
- The effects of childhood obesity create an estimated $3 billion per year in direct medical costs 4
As the amount of media children consume continues to increase, so does children's exposure to advertizing and food marketing. Studies show that unlike adults, children can have a hard time distinguishing between programming content and advertizing. 5
While the direct relationship between food marketing and childhood obesity has yet to be established, the federal government can take several steps to help improve the media environment for our children and promote healthier lifestyles.
In 2010, the FCC joined the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity and released a report to the President, entitled "Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation." The Commission worked closely with the FTC, the FDA and HHS in the food marketing section of the report.
Here are some of the report recommendations on how changes in food marketing can decrease childhood obesity: