I was happy to see that the Walt Disney Company announced it will no longer accept advertisements for most unhealthy foods on its child-directed television, radio, and websites, and that it is updating its nutrition standards for marketing to children. I am impressed with Disney's commitment to addressing nutrition and childhood obesity and hope your company will do at least as much.
Nickelodeon should also implement a clear and transparent policy for marketing to children. As you know, our country is facing an obesity epidemic, with one in three children overweight or obese. (1) The Institute of Medicine conducted a thorough scientific review and concluded that food marketing affects children's food preferences and choices and is harming their health. (2) In 2011, children under 12 saw an average of 13 food advertisements per day. Unfortunately, most of those were for unhealthy foods. (3)
Advertising for unhealthy foods to children has decreased from 94% to 86% of food ads from 2003 to 2009, but a much greater decline is needed given the effect of marketing on children's health.
I appreciate the steps you have taken to address the use of Nickelodeon characters to promote healthy food. However, your company must do more. Please adopt strong nutrition standards for advertisements and marketing through all of your child-directed media. It will have a positive impact on the food advertising landscape for children, children's health, and your company's reputation.