American Ad Body Publishes Junk Food Marketing Study

07 June 2004

The National Advertising Review Council, the US advertising industry's self-regulatory body, has published a study emphasising the importance of self-regulation of junk food marketing.

Amid growing industry anxiety that Congress may decide to police junk food ads, the council has drawn up its Guidance for Food Advertising Self-Regulation.

Detailing nine hundred food advertising cases examined by NARC, the paper outlines the body's conclusions. "Clearly, there is no single cause for the rising incidence of childhood obesity and no simple solution," the study states.

"Many factors are involved including, but not limited to, the severe reduction in physical education programs in schools, the replacement of outdoor activities with sedentary activities and the over-consumption of food."

The study follows Surgeon General Richard Carmona's presentation at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' management conference last April. In his address Carmona asked for the ad industry's support in combating the fact that obesity-related diseases are now surpassed only by tobacco-related disorders.

Marketers have already sought to ease the problem by including nutritional data on menus, changes in product formulation, and educational initiatives.

The NARC paper was warmly received by president/ceo of the Association of National Advertisers, Robert Liodice: "The NARC paper demonstrates that our industry is hard at work, through self-regulation, at addressing major societal concerns such as obesity. We reiterate our longstanding position that there is absolutely no need for new restriction on advertising to children."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff