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Kids and Commercials

Kids and Commercials. Bill Jeffery, National Coordinator Centre for Science in the Public Interest at Healthy People for a Healthy Tomorrow sponsored by Sudbury and District Health Unit June 9-10, 2004. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest.

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Kids and Commercials

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  1. Kids and Commercials Bill Jeffery, National Coordinator Centre for Science in the Public Interest at Healthy People for a Healthy Tomorrow sponsored by Sudbury and District Health Unit June 9-10, 2004

  2. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest • Independent health advocacy organization focussing on nutrition policy issues • Offices in Ottawa and Washington, and staff in Toronto and Vancouver • Funded in Canada by over 100,000 subscribers to the Canadian edition of the Nutrition Action Healthletter • CSPI does not accept funding from industry or government • Coordinator of the Alliance for Food Label Reform (groups representing 2 million Canadian citizens and health professionals) • Founding member of the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations

  3. Canadian annual costs of diet-, and inactivity-related disease • Estimated 20,000 to 47,000 premature deaths • $2.5 billion and $4.6 billion in health care spending per year (Katzmarzyk PT, et al. The Economic Burden of Physical Inactivity in Canada. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2000;163(11): 1435-40 at 1438; and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Costs and Benefits of Nutrition Information, (Ottawa: AAFC, May 2000) at 4.) • A total of $6.3 billion to $10.9 billion per year from the Canadian economy as a whole (health care costs plus lost productivity) (See: "Health Canada announces new mandatory nutrition labelling" [news release] (Ottawa: January 2, 2003), and Katzmarzyk PT, supra). • An average of 6.5 years of healthy life expectancy is lost due to four diet-related risk factors (blood cholesterol, blood pressure, overweight, and low fruit and vegetable intake), as well as physical inactivity and smoking. (World Health Organization, The World Health Report 2002 -- Preventing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life, (Press release issued at Geneva: October 3, 2002).

  4. Public Policies and Commercial Practices Affecting Children’s Health • Marketing and advertising controls (esp. outside Quebec) • Medicare (focussed primarily on disease treatment) • Nutrition-related disclosure on labels and menus (n.b., Bill C-398, and new label rules) • Food taxation, pricing policies (e.g., supersizing “deals”), and subsidies • Marketing of breast milk substitutes (n.b., the WHA International Code) • Compositional standards for food (e.g., fat content of meat, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in processed foods; sugar in tax-free breakfast cereals) • Nutrition policies re school food services (esp., cafeterias, vending machines, and fund-raising products)* -- Ontario government consultation pending • Municipal Planning (e.g., that promote active play and transit; or that facilitate red-lining of low income neighbourhoods by grocery store chains)* • Tobacco controls (advertising, labelling, smoke-free buildings, etc.)* • School curriculum (e.g., physical education, nutrition and cooking classes)* • Public education/promotion of healthful diet and physical activity (n.b., ParticpAction)*

  5. The de facto nutrition education in Canada for children and adults • Over $720 million was spent to advertise restaurants, food and alcohol in 1998.(McElgunn J. Canada's top 25 advertising categories. Marketing Magazine September 27, 1999:44.) • The average Canadian children sees 350,000 TV commercials before graduating from high school, spends nearly as much time watching TV as attending classes. • What’s on the menu?: nutritional weaklings like soft drinks, sugary cereals, candy, french fries, fast food, condiments, and activity-limiting products such as video games, movies, and television shows. • In a 1991 survey of programming, less than 9% of food ads were for dairy, fruits and vegetables (excluding french fries)(Østbye T, Pomerleau J, et al. Food and Nutrition in Canadian ‘Prime Time’ Television Commercials. Canadian Journal of Public Health 84(6) 370-74.) • Supreme Court of Canada: “...advertising directed at young children is per se manipulative. Such advertising aims to promote products by convincing those who will always believe.”(Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Irwin Toy v. Québéc (Attorney General), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927 at 988.)

  6. Commercial Techniques for Persuading Kids to Consume(including pester power) • Using ideal kids (a little older, a little thinner) • Heart strings (for parents) • Incredible toys • Celebrity endorsements • Commercializing schools (vending machines, etc., etc., etc.) • Logos on clothes • Product placements • School contests • Buzz or street marketing • The Internet, kids clubs, etc. (unsupervised) • Package placement in grocery stores

  7. Food advertising works. • Review of Research on the Effects of Food Promotion to Children: Final Report: • A global literature review of social scientists by scholars commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency published September 2003 • The report concluded: • there is a lot of food advertising to kids • affects preferences, purchasing behaviour and consumption • advertised diet is less healthy than recommended • Report of the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases (Technical Report 916) concluded: heavy marketing of energy dense and fast food is a probable contributor to obesity

  8. What can be done? • Amending self-administered, industry association voluntary codes is misspent time? • Amend provincial consumer protection statutes(like Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act, R.S.Q., c. P-40.1, ss. 248, 249 and the Regulations Respecting the Application of the Consumer Protection Act ss. 87-90.) • Amend the Federal Competition Act

  9. Proposal to amend the Competition Act Add section 74.11 to the Competition Act to state that: A person engages in “reviewable conduct” who directs any commercial advertising or promotion at persons under the age of 13. To determine whether an ad is aimed at kids, look at: • the nature of the goods or services advertised; and • the manner and time of presenting the ad.

  10. Advertising to Children (esp.,Nutrient-Poor Foods and Inactive Play) • Senator Spivak’s speech May 11, 2004 (http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/3/parlbus/chambus/senate/deb-e/pdf/040db_2004-05-11-E.pdf ) • 1978 ban in Quebec (Consumer Protection Act, R.S.Q., c. P-40.1, ss. 248, 249 and the Regulations Respecting the Application of the Consumer Protection Act ss. 87-90.) • Supreme Court of Canada ruling (Irwin Toy v. Québéc (A.G.), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927 ) • Similar bans in Norway and Sweden; partial restrictions in 32 countries (see: World Health Organization, Marketing Food to Children, (Geneva: WHO, 2004) at 14-16.)

  11. Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health Canadian Teachers' Federation L'Association des Diététistes au Québec National Federation for Seniors and Pensioners Community Nutritionists Council of British Columbia Union des consommateurs Canadian Women's Health Network Eastern Health & Comm. Services Bd. (Clarenville, Nfld.) Centre for Health Promotion Studies (Univ. of Alberta) Sport PEI Canadian Dental Hygienists Association Canadian Assn. for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity Multicultural Health Brokers Co-op Toronto Food Policy Council HEAL Network of Northern British Columbia National Retired Workers Advisory Council Nutrition Services (Whitehorse Regional Hospital) Edmonton School Lunch Program Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation Palliser Health Region (Alberta) DisAbled Women's Network of Ontario (DAWN) Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Centre for Science in the Public Interest Raffi Cavoukian (children’s entertainer) Who supports restrictions on advertising to children?

  12. Commercial Toy & Media Companies Buena Vista Entertainment Canada Corus Entertainment Inc. CTV Television Inc. Global Television Network Hasbro Canada Corporation Institute of Communications and Advertising LEGO Canada Inc. Mattel Canada Inc. Mega Bloks Inc. TELETOON Canada Inc. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Zenith Optimedia Canada Commercial Food Companies Cadbury Adams Canada Inc. Campbell Company of Canada Coca-Cola Ltd. Frito Lay Canada General Mills Canada Corporation Kellogg Canada Inc. Kraft Canada Inc. McCain Foods (Canada) McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd. Nestlé Canada Inc. Pepsi QTG Canada Inc. Unilever Canada Weston Bakeries Limited Who opposes banning ads to children?: “Concerned Children’s Advertisers”

  13. CCA report: Obesity in Canadian Children, 2003 • Uncritical cataloguing of dozens of remedial public policies • Dismissive of shortcomings of PA interventions • Critical of restrictions on advertising

  14. Is there any hope for a prevention dividend? • Auditor General said that "preventative health activities are estimated to be 6 to 45 times more effective than dealing with health problems after the fact.”(Auditor General of Canada, Health Canada: A Proactive Approach to Health, chapter 9 in Report of the Auditor General of Canada -- 2001, (Ottawa: Auditor General, 2001) at 3.) • New mandatory nutrition labels (finalized January 2003) are expected to yield $5 billion in savings or a 2,000% R.O.I. over two decades due to decreased heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes(The Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 137, No. 1 (January 1, 2003) at 386. • In the past 8 years, tobacco usage rates have declined from approximately 30% to 21% (Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Smoking in Canada: Percentage of Canadians who smoke (on either a daily or occasional basis), federal surveys, 1965-2002 (Ottawa: PSFC, 2003.) • Maybe: Quebec has the lowest obesity rates in Canada despite having lower rates of physical activity than 10 provinces and territories (Canadian Journal of Cardiology October 2003, 19(11) 1251.) • Maybe: Quebec residents consume more fruits and vegetables than residents of any other province or territory (Statistics Canada, Dietary practices by sex, household population aged 12 and over, Canada, provinces, territories, health regions and peer groups, 2000/01, Health Indicators, May 2002, Cat. No. 82-221-XIE.)

  15. Is there any hope for a prevention dividend? (cont’d) Health promotion advertising can work: • CSPI and West Virginia University 1% or less campaign (TV and radio ads plus news conferences) • Telephone Surveys: 34% of people switched • Supermarket sales receipts data: low-fat milk purchases rose from 29% to 46%(Reger B, Wootan MG, Booth-Butterfield S. “Using Mass Media to Promote Healthy Eating: A Community Demonstration Project.” Preventative Medicine 1999, vol. 29, pp. 414-421.)

  16. Is there political will to act? • Is there a political will to oppose (especially with Quebec precedent, broad NGO support, and a nod from the Supreme Court of Canada)? • Senator Spivak appears committed to proceed with proposed legislation. • Appears consistent with: •  nascent “Integrated Pan-Canadian Healthy Living Strategy” • Government of Canada’s commitment to the WHO global strategy to combat diet- and inactivity related disease • Editorial in Marketing (magazine), March 3, 2003 at 18.

  17. Contact info: Bill Jeffery, L.LB., National Coordinator Centre for Science in the Public Interest Suite 4550, CTTC Bldg. 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5R1 jefferyb@istar.ca Tel.: 613-244-7337 Fax: 613-244-1559 Website: http://www.cspinet.org/canada/

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