the food and beverage preferences, requests, and short-term consumption of children aged 2-11 (IOM, 2006). The report also documents a body of evidence showing an association of television advertising with the adiposity of children and adolescents aged 2-18. The report notes the prevailing pattern that food and beverage products marketed to children and youth are often high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium; are of low nutritional value; and tend to be from food groups Americans are already overconsuming. Furthermore, marketing messages that promote nutrition, healthful foods, or physical activity are scarce (IOM, 2006).


To review progress and explore opportunities for action on food and beverage marketing that targets children and youth, the IOM’s Standing Committee on Childhood Obesity Prevention held a workshop in Washington, DC, on November 5, 2012, titled “New Challenges and Opportunities in Food Marketing to Children and Youth.” The workshop was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,2 which has a major commitment to reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity by 2015. The workshop featured invited presentations and discussions on contemporary trends in marketing of foods and beverages to children and youth and the implications of those trends for obesity prevention. Workshop presentations and discussions involving researchers, policy makers, advocates, and other stakeholders explored current efforts in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors to change the current marketing environment, and addressed such topics as The workshop agenda and brief biographies of the speakers and moderators are presented in Appendixes A and D, respectively.

•   emerging marketing and communication strategies for the promotion of unhealthy foods and beverages to children and youth and their impact, as well as legal, policy, and consumer- and community-based approaches for curbing their use;

•   international approaches to food and beverage marketing to children and youth;

•   emerging research on the effects of digital marketing, targeted marketing, and other marketing and communication strategies;

•   initiatives and opportunities to leverage emerging marketing strategies or inspire youth-led activities to promote healthy foods and beverages and/or counteract marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages; and

•   lessons learned from other public health initiatives that have employed regulatory and/or countermarketing tactics to curb marketing of unhealthy products.


2For more information about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, see

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