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T.O. health officer: Ban sugary ads that target kids under 13


Sarah Green

Toronto Sun
February 23, 2008



 They're not so Grrreat!

Toronto's medical officer of health wants to see an end to food and beverage advertising targeting Canadian children under the age of 13.

In a report to the city's board of health, Dr. David McKeown called for the ban, saying marketing has a strong influence on children's diets.

"Food and beverage products developed for, and advertised to young people are dominated by those that are calorie dense and nutrient poor," said the report, to be presented Tuesday.

"There is strong evidence that advertising influences the food and beverage preferences, purchase requests and short-term consumption of children ... a ban on the commercial advertising of food and beverages to children under 13 years of age is appropriate and feasible at this time," the report said.

It called for the federal and provincial governments to legislate the ban. Quebec has already banned all forms of advertising to children under 13.


The average child aged 2 to 11 in Canada watches 14 hours of TV a week. While there's no Canadian research, children aged 2 to 7 in the U.S. were exposed to 17 minutes of advertising a day, and 37 minutes for kids aged 8 to 12, the report said. U.S. research also shows children see 27 food ads on TV for every public service announcement promoting healthy eating.

"It's sad to say many children don't even know what broccoli or cauliflower are," said Dr. David Lau, president of Obesity Canada.

TV ads have a "huge influence" on children, creating an appetite for everything from cereal to sugar-laden fruit juices which have as many calories as pop, Lau said.

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