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March 2014

Food and Beverage Marketing in Schools: Putting Student Health at the Head of the Class

Author Affiliations
  • 1Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
  • 2Food, Nutrition and Policy Consultants, LLC, Washington, DC
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(3):206-208. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5003

Children and adolescents in the United States consume too many calories, including empty calories from foods and beverages high in sugar and saturated fat, placing them at risk for obesity and obesity-related diseases including type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cancer.1-3 Yet food companies continue to directly target young people with marketing for products that contribute to poor health. They spend $1.8 billion annually in youth-targeted marketing, with the promotion of fast food, sugary drinks, sugary breakfast cereals, and candy accounting for 90% of these expenditures.4 Although companies have promised to market healthier choices to children younger than 12 years of age, there have been few improvements in the overall landscape of food marketed to children.5 In addition, companies continue to view children 12 years of age and older as an important target market and outside the scope of current self-regulatory initiatives.6

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