tions plan to closely monitor the progress made on the recommendations in the joint FTC and DHHS summary report (FTC and DHHS, 2006). Moreover, through Public Law 109-108, FTC has requested public comment and information on food industry marketing activities targeted to children and adolescents and expenditures for those activities. The public comments and information will be submitted in a report to Congress (FTC, 2006).
CBBB has recognized the need to consider changes in the self-regulatory advertising guidelines to respond appropriately to new marketing techniques and also to the knowledge about children’s cognitive abilities in understanding marketing messages (CBBB, 2006). Children younger than 7 to 8 years of age lack the cognitive skills to discern commercial from non-commercial content—that is, they are unable to attribute persuasive intent to advertising and other forms of marketing. Children usually develop these skills at about the age of 8 years; however, children as old as 11 years of age may not activate these cognitive defenses, especially with embedded forms of marketing, such as product placement in commercials and programs, unless they are explicitly cued to activate these skills (IOM, 2006).
In early 2006, CBBB announced plans to review the CARU guidelines for advertising to children. As part of the CARU review process, an industry working group that receives input from a diverse group of CARU advisers has been established. The industry working group is currently engaged in an ongoing process to consider whether and how the industry self-regulatory guidelines should be revised and has indicated that the scope of the review will be broad. After the review, the industry working group will make recommendations to the board of directors of NARC, CBBB, and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulatory Program. Once the NARC board has given approval, the recommendations will be posted for public comment and the NARC board will consider implementing the recommendations (CBBB, 2006).
Information and education are necessary but not sufficient factors to promote behavioral changes in young consumers and their parents. The recommended items should be available, accessible, affordable, appealing, and sufficiently promoted to consumers. One of the approaches that has been adopted by food and beverage manufacturers to help consumers make healthier product choices is to highlight the existing products in their portfolios that meet certain nutrition standards that are based on recommendations by FDA, the IOM’s Dietary Reference Intakes, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Such nutrition standards include limits for the percentage of calories derived from fat, saturated fat, and trans fat; sugar, sodium, and