In the News this Week

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I didn't want the week to end without getting your thoughts on a couple news items this week. You've probably already heard about them so let's hear what you think:

1. On Monday I told you about the new policy report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), that targets junk food advertising to kids. You knew it wouldn't be long before the food industry spoke out against the report, Children, Adolescents and Advertising that urges physicians to take action to curb those ads.

Needless to say they aren't happy (why would they be?). Kraft, General Mills, Coca-Cola, Campbell's, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Products Association, and the Association of National Advertisers are all pointing to the self-regulating Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative that was announced in November. Remember this? (see More Big Food News: Tacos and Kiddie Ads)) In this initiative they promise to limit advertising to kids in schools and other arenas. But is it enough? I think any curbs in kiddie ads is a good thing whether it's self-regulated or a government mandate. There's simply too much.

2. McDonald's announced it is testing mini-gyms for kids 4-12 at seven restaurants in California, Illinois, Colorado and Oklahoma. And they're going high tech with stationary bikes with video games, electronic basketball hoops that cheer when a basket is made, video dance pads and kid friendly climbing equipment. Of course they're getting criticism from those saying they are doing this just to improve their image. But exercise is good for kids and the gyms sound like fun. My question is, what kid is going to want to 'work out' after a quarter pounder, large fries and extra large soda?

3. New research published in the December issue of Pediatrics has found that fast food restaurants in childrens' hospitals encourage families to eat more fast food and gives them a false sense that it is healthy (it's in a hospital after all). It is appalling that some of these fast food joints that offer less than healthy items are in our hospitals, but it's true. I don't know what else to say, but this is so incongruent. Check out the study's abstract by clicking here and weigh in.
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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