The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale released a report Monday showing children and teenagers remain a big target for soft drink ads. Researchers at the center say their findings show the federal government should do more to regulate the marketing of soda and other unhealthy foods.
Most U.S. children get more than their daily recommended total of sugar in soda, fruit punch, energy drinks and other sugary beverages, something the Rudd Center researchers say contributes to the rising rates of childhood obesity. The beverage industry says it's been unfairly singled out, arguing that sweetened drinks are just one of many sources of calories in the American diet and it should not be blamed for the obesity epidemic.
The food industry has put into place some voluntary guidelines to limit advertising of sweet drinks to children. But the Rudd report suggests that kids are still seeing more ads than they were before the industry's self-regulation. A federal interagency report, suggesting more stringent voluntary standards for food marketers was panned by industry and will be softened before its final publication later this year. Republicans in Congress have said the government shouldn't be in the business of telling parents what to feed their kids.
Is there a role for the government in regulating soda?