Should Food Commercials on Kids TV be Regulated?

Two Democratic Congressman are sponsoring a bill that would give the Federal Trade Commission regulatory authority over the food and beverage commercials your kids watch on TV. Targeting childhood obesity, The Healthy Kids Act would also create an Office of Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention and Treatment, or OCOOPT. (I would have called it the Children's Health Office of Management and Prevention, or CHOMP).

The Office would be allowed to develop advertising guidelines that take into account "the emotional vulnerability of children and adolescents and their cognitive ability to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial content." In other words, they think kids are too dumb to understand that advertised food isn’t always good for them.

No word yet on who would be appointed the "Fat Kid Czar", but expect a few high-profile names in the mix. Personally, I think the Jolly Green Giant has an edge over Ronald McDonald (who shouldn’t have included Hamburglar among his references).

Various special interest groups are adamantly opposed to the bill, including powerful advertising industry lobbyists and makers of the obscure breakfast cereal Super O-besity Crunch! ("It’s Fun to be Fat!"). Their point: All foods are okay in moderation, so don't just pick on the super fatty ones heavily marketed to your kids.

No matter what happens to the bill, parents are still the best gatekeepers when it comes to monitoring and deciding what their kids eat. I’d certainly rather let Big Mother play Big Brother than the other way around.

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