Every year in the U.S., companies spend nearly $2 billion marketing unhealthy foods and drinks to kids in a ton of sneaky ways: in the school cafeteria, on YouTube and social media, through gaming, sports and event sponsorships, branded toys, product placements, athlete endorsements, and even on your kids virtual learning problems. In this episode, I’m talking with Bettina Elias Siegel, a national journalist, children’s food advocate, and author of “Kid Food: The Challenge of Feeding Children In a Highly Processed World,” about the history of food marketing to kids in the U.S., why companies are determined to reach kids of all ages, the “pester power” conundrum, kid influencers on YouTube, how parents can spot these sneaky tactics, what needs to happen at a policy level, and what you can do to advocate for stronger policies and affect change.
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2:23 What is the history of food marketing and advertising in the U.S.?
4:35 Why are food and beverage companies determined to target kids and teens?
8:25 What’s problematic about food marketing to kids today and what are the sneaky ways they’re being targeted?
11:21 Has anything changed about their strategy and tactics during COVID-19?
13:57 Food marketing in the cafeteria at schools—are there rules around this?
19:00 Why is the recent study in the journal Pediatrics about kid influencers concerning?
24:27 Is there oversight for food marketing and advertising?
33:00 What is problematic about the marketing of seemingly “healthy” foods such as yogurt or brands that are endorsed by someone who is perceived as healthy like an athlete?
34.52 What needs to happen at a policy level?
39.21 What can parents do to advocate for change and also make healthy choices for their kids?
42:18 Where listeners can go to get more information about these Food Issues and Bettina Elias Siegel.
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