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Researchers: Ban on fast food TV advertising would reverse childhood obesity trends
Date:11/19/2008

The study also found that the elimination of tax deductibility tied to advertising would similarly produce declines in childhood obesity, albeit at a smaller rate of 5-7 percent. Advertising is considered a business expense and, as such, it can be used to reduce a company's taxable income. The authors deduce that, since the corporate income tax rate is 35 percent, the elimination of the tax deductibility of food advertising costs would be equivalent to increasing the price of advertising by 54 percent.

Such an action would consequently result in the reduction of fast food advertising messages by 40 percent for children, and 33 percent for adolescents.

The studythe largest of its kind to directly tie childhood obesity to fast food advertising on American televisionis based on the viewing habits of nearly 13,000 children using data from the 1979 Child-Young Adult National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, both issued by the U.S. Department of Labor.

A 2006 report issued by the Institute of Medicine indicated there is compelling evidence linking food advertising on television and increased childhood obesity. "Some members of the committee that wrote the report recommended congressional regulation of television food advertisements aimed at children, but the report also said that the final link that would definitively prove that children had become fatter by watching food commercials aimed at them cannot be made," says Grossman.

"Our study provides evidence of that link," he says.

The Centers for Disease Control estimate that, between 1970 and 1999, the percentage of overweight children ages 6-11 more than tripled to 13 percent. Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 also saw a significant increase, reaching 14 percent.

Research indicates that there is an 80 percent chance an overweight adolescent will be an obese adult and that over 300,000 deaths can be at
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Contact: Tom Yencho
tsy205@lehigh.edu
610-758-3172
Lehigh University
Source:Eurekalert

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