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Food for Thought: Advertising Junk Food for Revenue

March 28, 2012

Mark Bittman’s NYTimes column discusses the issue of whether advertising for junk food that is targeted for children should be protected by the first amendment. The column addresses constitutional issues, citing cases that “protect” advertisers because they provide consumers with information they need to make an informed decision. The article then notes that psychologists have determined that  children under 12 cannot make an informed decision given their intellectual development. For that reason, the government has developed some dietary guidelines and accompanying advertising limitations. Of course, “Big Food” has successfully pushed back. In the meantime, cash-starved school s have expanded advertising, which leads to the  The concluding paragraph:

Clearly, public schools need all the revenue they can get, but if the only way to sufficiently fund the schools is by undermining the nutrition of the kids who attend them, we’d better bring in more junk food ads, because we’re going to have to pay for something else our kids will need: Health care.

The knots continue: public schools are charged with educating student-consumers to eat wisely but need to sell advertisements to keep their doors open and programs alive. Oh, and pizza is a balanced meal on the menu.

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