This article belongs to Joe is Fine, Are you? column.
For those of you who have been following amything that I have been doing on the internet you know I have been reporting on the battle to reform the media's influence on childhood obesity. Last Wednesday was the day that the joint commission of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human services sat down at a workshop to reveal a report on how the 57 programs studied by the Associated Press have been reformed.
To give you some background I started following this story back in April of this year when there was talk about the FCC needing to get involved in regulation of all advertising practices geared toward kids and junk food marketing. In May of this year there was some buzz on Capital Hill about limiting the amount of junk food advertising toward children. Ed Markey(D-Mass.) has been the one at the forefront in pushing the FCC to get involved. According to a June 4th article the FTC says that there are 9% fewer ad's-5,538 in 2004 down from 6,100 in 1977. To me,while this may seem to be a significant decrease to some we still have a long way to go.
The Kaiser Family Foundation 2005 study released in March showed a number double of what the FTC study showed. 95% of todays current advertising is pitching fast foods and restaurants,high sugar-cereal, desserts,sweets,snacks,and sweetened drinks. Going back to the Associated Press report they feel that of the 57 programs currently being funded that encourage healthy eating habits among young kids the $1 billion to fund these programs is being wasted. The government task force report was due out this month,but now has been pushed back to September. Food industry lobbyists are the ones responsible for influencing the delay of the report. Also it is worth mentioning that the task force which was initiated by our own state Senator Sam Brownback was not meant to be a finger pointing mechanism but rather a tool to join hands against the fight against childhood obesity.
Now with that being said I traditionally do not vote republican when I go to the polls. I come from a democratic household and thus vote democrat when I feel we have a candidate worth voting for. However, I have applauded Senator Brownback for taking the initiative to get a movement any kind of movement going in an effort to focus on prevention so that we don't have to spend money into treatment of obesity down the road. One thing too is that I fail to see why the junk food marketers tend to target a population that is such a vulnerable market?
These are the formative years when a child's mind is still learning and growing. We should be instilling in them healthy eating and living habits instead of habits that will create problems that we have to pick up the tab for until they turn 18 and can go find their own insurance and pay their own bills. In Kansas their was a study done around the early part of this decade that found that the state was spending well over $300 million in obesity related expenses from the medicare/medicaid budget. That is money that could have been used to expand the food stamp program so that recipients could maybe get more.
A family of two like myself and my son are actually allowed just over $200 a month, but we get $157 a month. Ok so now I am rambling on a bit I tend to do that when I get on a subject I am passionate about. I did an extensive amount of research last semester into the state food stamp program for a project I had to do for a class and what I learned I could use for content for many many weeks and months to come. Sources researched through Media Post Publications Additional research from college coursework