One story from yesterday that got loads of pickup is the recommendation by the Institute of Medicine that there be major changes in food marketing to children, such as having cartoon characters only promote healthy snacks. As well it should be. While parents should bear some of the responsibility for what their children eat, and young children are seldom in charge of their food-purchasing decisions, there’s no denying that advertising drives demand for such fare as Fruit Roll-Ups with “tattoos” that temporarily reside on your tongue. I firmly believe that the scenario in which much of this so-called food is bought contains the following: it’s 5:00 p.m., and Mom hasn’t bought dinner. Reluctantly, she shoves the kids in the car and heads off to Stop ‘n’ Shop, intent on getting home quickly. But the children, being the impulsive creatures they are, can’t even make it down a single store aisle without crying out for the junk food lining the shelves that they saw on TV. For Mom, the tension is mounting … people are staring, the kids are wailing, and suddenly the most efficient way to stop the madness is to buy the goodie on the shelf. The kids calm down just long enough to get out of the store, and Mom regrets the purchase ever after.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor