• Require inclusion of a disclaimer pointing to the need to limit consumption of food or participation in sedentary entertainment.

  • Require a message recommending complementary consumption of healthier food or participation in more physically active entertainment.

Congress should also authorize and appropriate sufficient funding to support a study of the cumulative direct and indirect effects of advertising and marketing on the food and beverage and sedentary entertainment purchasing and health behaviors of children, adolescents, and parents; and investigate how approaches such as media literacy can provide children with the desirable skills to respond to marketing messages.

Recommendation 4: Advertising and Marketing

Industry should develop and strictly adhere to marketing and advertising guidelines that minimize the risk of obesity in children and youth.

To implement this recommendation:

  • The Secretary of DHHS should convene a national conference to develop guidelines for the advertising and marketing of foods, beverages, and sedentary entertainment directed at children and youth with attention to product placement, promotion, and content.

  • Industry should implement the advertising and marketing guidelines.

  • The FTC should have the authority and resources to monitor compliance with the food and beverage and sedentary entertainment advertising practices.


Throughout this report there is discussion of the influence of media on childhood obesity. This section discusses use of the media as a positive strategy for addressing childhood obesity. The fundamental perspective of this report is that childhood obesity reflects numerous influences, and consequently that addressing the epidemic will require changes in the many ways in which American society interacts with its children. Deploying the media should be seen as part of a broader effort to change social norms—for youth about their own behavior, for parents about their actions on behalf of their children, and for society at large about the need to support policies that protect its most vulnerable members.

There is perhaps some irony in using the mass media to address the childhood obesity epidemic when the sedentary lifestyles associated with viewing television are noted to be contributing causes of that epidemic (see

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement