Commentary: One less thing to worry about

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If you were worried about teaching your kids good eating habits, don’t be. There is absolutely no need to worry about instilling good eating habits into your children anymore because the government is going to take care of that for you. At least that appears to be the gist of some potential regulations on food and beverage advertising for children. Oh, and if any business tries to sell your child anything unhealthy, it will probably be sued.

If you weren’t aware, last week 17 U.S. food and beverage companies proposed self-imposed regulations designed to adjust the products they advertise and market to children. This announcement comes after the Federal Trade Commission and a group of other agencies were directed by Congress to establish guidelines for such advertising, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Limits will be placed on the number of calories and the amount of sugar, sodium and saturated fat allowed in foods marketed to kids. If companies do not make adjustments, they will not be allowed to advertise products that do not meet the guidelines after Dec. 31, 2013.

The guidelines released by the companies are far less stringent than the proposed government regulations.

I realize that this effort is intended to reduce the child obesity rate that has tripled in the past three decades and perhaps I’m being a bit sarcastic, but do you really think this have any sort of impact? I personally don’t.

What happened to personal responsibility? This advertising might be directed at children, but parents are the ones doing the grocery shopping and making the food choices. Are we relinquishing the grocery shopping to the kids?

I worry because if we take all of the supposed “bad stuff” out of food and force-feed our kids healthy stuff, what prevents them from gorging themselves on “forbidden” foods if they get a chance? What about portion control? Eating too much of something that’s “good” for you, isn’t a good idea either. I have to remind my husband all the time, that just because pistachios are good for you it does not mean eating the entire Costco size bag is a good idea.

In my personal opinion, we should be focusing our efforts on teaching kids strike a balance between eating and exercise, instead of over-regulating the food industry.

What I do know is that from personal dieting experience and trying to eat healthy that if I try and deny myself a piece of chocolate or something sweet it only makes me crave it more. But if I let myself have a small portion that’s all I need, it satisfies my sweet craving and I consume far fewer calories than if I had denied myself in the first place. I can’t imagine that kids are any different.

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Delaware Co. NY  |  July, 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Personal Responsibility- it seems everything is always somebody else's fault! Thank you Megan for your thoughts, and I totally agree. I have listened for years to the obesity crisis being blamed on everything from flavored milk to marketers trying to addict the public. I am tired of the labeling of "good food", "bad food"! All food can be enjoyed, if we are responsible about how much and how often we eat it!!!

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