The evolution of self-regulation in food advertising: an analysis of CARU cases from 2000–2010

Mariea Grubbs Hoy, Courtney Carpenter Childers and Margaret Morrison

University of Tennessee

The consequences of childhood obesity are not up for debate. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Leibowitz (2009) calls it ‘one of the most serious threats to the well-being of our children’ (p. 5). The increased health risks for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer (Leibowitz 2009), coupled with the emotional and social issues that often accompany a child who is overweight or obese (Must & Strauss 1999; Davidson et al. 2003), present concerns at both the personal and societal level. Food and beverage marketing to children is highly criticised because children are less aware than adults of the consequences of their nutritional choices (Seiders & Petty 2004), and less able to engage in the cognitive defences necessary to adequately evaluate the advertising message (John 1999; Nairn & Fine 2008).