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Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
guidelines appropriate for each sector (e.g., foods, beverages, restaurants, leisure, and entertainment). CARU also reported that companies appear to be incorporating the CARU guidelines into their own advertising review systems and request that CARU conduct prescreening of their advertisements (CBBB, 2006).
The Health in the Balance report recommended that industry develop and strictly adhere to marketing and advertising guidelines that minimize the risk of obesity in children and youth (IOM, 2005). To reach this goal, the IOM committee recommended that DHHS convene a national conference to develop new guidelines for the advertising and marketing of foods, beverages, and sedentary entertainment directed toward children and youth, with attention given to product placement, promotion, and content. The IOM committee also recommended that industry implement the advertising and marketing guidelines, and that FTC be given the authority and resources to monitor compliance with these practices and guidelines (IOM, 2005).
The IOM report Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat orOpportunity? provides three additional recommendations related to advertising and marketing to children and youth (IOM, 2006). First, it recommends that industry work through CARU to revise, expand, apply, enforce, and evaluate explicit industry self-regulatory guidelines beyond traditional advertising to include evolving vehicles and venues for marketing communication (e.g., the Internet, advergames, and branded product placement across multiple media platforms). Second, the report recommends that industry ensure that licensed characters6 are used only for the promotion of foods and beverages that support healthful diets for children and youth. Third, it recommends that industry foster cooperation between CARU and FTC to evaluate and enforce the effectiveness of the expanded self-regulatory guidelines (IOM, 2006).
In July 2005, FTC and DHHS held a joint workshop, Marketing, Self-Regulation, and Childhood Obesity, that provided a forum for industry, academic, public health advocacy, and government stakeholders, as well as consumers, to examine the role of the private sector in addressing the rising childhood obesity rates. A summary of the workshop contains recommendations and next steps for industry stakeholders, including a request that industry strengthen self-regulatory measures to advertise responsibly to children through CARU. FTC and DHHS both indicated that these institu-
Licensed characters are branded cartoon characters or other animal or human spokescharacters that are easily recognized by children. A third-party licensing agreement allows the copyright holder of the branded character to loan its intellectual property to another company in exchange for payment. In the children’s media industries, companies can license the characters and images to food, beverage, and restaurant companies for a fee (IOM, 2006).