Blumenthal to Nickelodeon: No More Junk Food Ads

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Kids in America are getting fatter and four Democratic senators say that Nickelodeon can help curb the growing problem by cutting out ads for unhealthy foods that are sandwiched between its programs.\"spongebob\"

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and three others have sent a letter to Viacom, which  owns the kids TV channel, asking the company to ban the ads. The senators say the station shows 25 percent of all food ads aimed at kids and that a majority of those commercials are for unhealthy foods.

\”We\’re calling on Nickelodeon– the biggest source of food ads viewed by kids– to stop the pitches for unhealthy foods like sugary cereals and sweet snacks that are powerfully promoting childhood obesity,\” Blumenthal said in a statement Monday morning.

Read the full letter after the jump.

June 10, 2013

 Mr. Philippe Dauman?
President and Chief Executive Officer
Viacom Inc.?
1515 Broadway?
New York, New York 10036

Ms. Cyma Zarghami?
President, Nickelodeon
Viacom Inc.?
1515 Broadway?
New York, New York 10036
 
 
 Dear Mr. Dauman and Ms. Zarghami,

 As a leading multi-media entertainment destination for children and adolescents, Nickelodeon has a special opportunity—and responsibility—to help address our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. We ask that you implement a clear policy to guide the marketing of food to children on Nickelodeon’s various media platforms, including the advertisements on your channels, Internet sites, and mobile platforms. 
 
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity has doubled among children and tripled among adolescents, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Obese youth are at greater risk of having high cholesterol or high blood pressure, prediabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and self-esteem issues. Obese youth are also more likely to be obese as adults, and are at higher risk for adult health problems including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and osteoarthritis. The medical costs associated with obesity have a significant economic impact on our nation’s health care system, totaling approximately $147 billion in 2008.
 
While there are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity, food marketing plays an important role. A 2006 Institute of Medicine report requested by Congress found that television advertisements influenced children’s food and beverage preferences and the requests they make to their parents. Nickelodeon is in a key position to help safeguard the health and well-being of our kids, and your decisions on what products are permitted to be advertised through your network have an impact on our children’s diets and long-term health prospects.
 
According to a 2010 report by the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Nickelodeon currently airs a quarter of the food advertisements that are viewed by children under 12. In 2012, the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 69 percent of foods advertised on Nickelodeon were of poor nutritional quality, including fast foods, sugary cereals, and sweet snacks.
 
We applaud the initiatives that Nickelodeon has taken to promote healthy lifestyles for children, including through health and wellness messaging, but remain concerned that Nickelodeon continues to run advertisements for food and beverage products of poor nutritional quality.
 
One year ago last week, the Walt Disney Corporation took the important step of announcing that it would no longer accept advertisements for unhealthy foods on television, radio, and websites directed at children. Like other companies, Disney has found success in focusing their food marketing on healthy foods that contribute to the health and fitness of their viewers. Given Nickelodeon’s commitment to fighting childhood obesity and responsibility to the youth that comprise your audience, we ask that the company promptly take similar action to implement strong nutrition standards for all of its marketing to children. We look forward to your response. 

Sincerely,
 
Richard Blumenthal
John D. Rockefeller IV
Tom Harkin
Richard J. Durbin

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29 thoughts on “Blumenthal to Nickelodeon: No More Junk Food Ads

  1. Sharpshooter

    Looks like Blumey and Bloomberg have similar interests in creating and furthering the ‘nanny state’ initiatives…I’m sure Nickelodian would advertise apples and oranges if they could only get the advertising dollars needed to remain afloat…

  2. chris

    The crap our elected officials waste time on never ceases to amaze me, you cant legislate personal responsibility! How about actually doing something about our run away government and their domestic spying that has been brought to light? Or the irs and its lavish expenditures and targeting of specific groups? Or how about holding someone accountable for Benghazi? Nope lets focus on fat kids since thats a more important issue right now.

  3. Ian

    If they don’t use those advertisers, who’s going to step up to the plate to generate the Advertising funds?

    Maybe they could solicit ads for Trojan, Coors, Monistat, Depends…

  4. bobw

    This is what our wonderful Senator is wasting his time on? Really? Oh that’s right everything is going so well here in CT he has to fill his time with this crap. I’m sure this will help crate jobs, lower spending and put a budget together that makes sense. Remember when it was up to our parents to decide what we watched and what we could eat. Now it seems government needs to make sure all the parents are raising there children the right way…..governments way.

  5. pezz

    Government overreach never ceases to amaze me. Please end the reign of big incredibly stupid government. Vote for smaller govt. officials. I don’t care whether they are democrats who’ve seen the light, republicans, or independents. I am officially a libertarian as of this posting.

  6. Martin Young

    Seems to me doing something to help the children would be a good thing. Amazing at the posts here showing the selfishness of the comments. I, I , Me, Me . My question is—-Do You have children and Do You care?

    1. Dynks

      Yes, I do have kids and it’s MY responsibility, not the governments, to make sure that my kids eat right and get plenty of exercise. Blumenthal and the rest of the schmucks in Washington should be concentrating on lowering taxes and reducing our out of control debt.

    2. Seriously?

      Martin:

      I have children, and I do care. But you see, I take care of my children and monitor what they watch and make sure they’re eating heathly. When they don’t eat healthy, I make sure it’s in moderation. It’s called being a parent and it’s a great big responsibility…of mine. Not you, or the the government. You can’t be so simple minded as to say this bs Blumenthal is pursuing is “for the children.” When will Blumenthal let me know what time I should put my children to sleep, or what sports or activities they should be a part of? Views like yours are the reason our Government is so bloated and wastes so much money on nothing. Thank you!!!! I love my high taxes and diminished rights.

      1. Billy Yo

        Seriously?

        Stop being a blowhard. If we were to live in an unregulated society(yes, as in Libertarian dreamland) where predator industries had the intentions to produce good products, then I might agree. However, this is far from the situation. We have a tobacco industry, for example, makes not only poison cigs but highly addictives in order to get you hooked and die. You have importers of rotten sheet rock that is unhealthy to breath. We have and need to maintain a robuyst consumer products government-run agency to protect.

        if you desire to live in an unregulated environment in which one of your kids can get sick and die because some product was not banned, go ahead and let him or her die on your watch. but not in my country and not with my kids on my watch.

        sorry pal, you are wrong.

    3. bobw

      It’s people like Martin Young that get the Blumenthal’s of this country elected. They swallow the “Goevernment will take care of you Koolaid (sugar and all)” like its their job.

    4. Sharpshooter

      I guess Mrtin needs all the help he can get from the government to keep his kids in line…too bad Martin…you’ll be very disappointed at the outcome…

      1. Frankie

        YOu missed the point. nobody is suggesting that parental control be shifted. but that products that are unhealthy be removed. don’t you understand the difference?

  7. Tom W

    What Benghazi, IRS, and all the other scandals this administration has cook in’, and these 4 jokers are pickin’ on Sponge Bob n friends. Blumey needs to get his head out of, well, lets say the sand to be nice.

  8. Rich

    For crying out loud. This is what he focuses on while the country goes down the toilet? I watched TV as a kid…had commercials for all kids of sugar laced treats and I survived with a healthy BMI. Now excuse me while I down a Yoo-Hoo and eat some Captain Crunch with my Twinkies.

  9. HarryH

    Remember Blumenthaul is only interested in getting his name and face in the press. If he thought requesting the opposite would get him more publicity he’d promote the opposite.
    Bluementhaul is only interested in himself.

  10. Jon

    Really why don’t you try banning High Frutose Corn syrup Sorbitol and the other ingredients that cause obesity. Oh the lobbyist money is probably way to good to try and do that. Right Blumey? What a bunch of morons. Banning commericials does nothing to stop obesity dummies.

  11. XYZ

    Here is where I do appreciate them, even though I not happy with Obama and I pro-black. Conceal Carry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Tailored for militia members, gangs, drug cartels and terrorists. I am a Republican too.

  12. Wendy

    How about stopping all the beer commercials so there is no more alcoholism, or prescription drugs so there is no more addiction, or personal products so there is no more sex…….just saying.

  13. pete

    What a CLOWN. Isn’t he the same idiot who co sponsor the diaper bill. You know the one where he and the other brain trust from CT – Rosa DeLaurio wants US the US TAXPAYER to buy diapers for those who have kids and can’t afford them. Guess that is society’s problem also. I have an idea. LET’S CUT THE WELFARE GRAVY TRAIN SO PEOPLE WHO SHOULDN’T HAVE KIDS DON’T

  14. Connventional thought...

    Semper Lie Blumenthal wants no junk food ads for the little ones. These are priorities as Rome burns. The combover, tanning booth user with capped teeth is gonna tell you what needs to be done. While Monsanto of Blumenthal buddy Toby Moffett does as it pleases. Please Please Rob Simmons run in 2014 so we can rid our state of the limousine liberal Danang Dick Blumenthal.

  15. Disgusted

    And he is the brighter of Connecticut’s two senators. Those that pay no taxes love and vote for these idiots.

  16. will

    More BIG government waste of time. Where are those JOBS? Government should stay the hell out of things that are my personal choice.Cut Government by 50% as in states like Texas. 1/2 pay, 1/2 time spent wasting taxpayer dollars, go back to a private sector job 1/2 the year.

Comments are closed.