While some newspapers would like you to take any public-health scold with an M.D. at his word, a recent Tampa Tribune editorial on the federal Interagency Working Group advertising standards is far more sensible. Calling the push for new guidelines “a devastating statement about Washington's overreach,” the Tribune editors note correctly that “marketing can't make parents buy the products.” Tell that to the scolds who want to take toys out of Happy Meals.
It is refreshing to hear a newspaper editorial board avoid the CSPI-fueled hype that food marketing to kids is a cause of obesity. Now, the food cops might say that parents can’t possibly control their children’s desires without a hand from Big Government. But there’s evidence that parents are wiser than the nannies want you to believe.
After all, as far back as the 1950’s kids’ shows like Howdy Doody and Mr. Bluster were promoting Twinkies, candy bars, and Tootsie Roll Pops, yet kids weren’t battling the bulge. Could it be that it’s not cartoon characters that are causing obesity, but rather the increase in sedentary lifestyles among a video-game generation?
The Tribune aptly notes:
It reflects a bureaucracy with no faith in personal responsibility. If they get rid of Snap, Crackle and Pop, would they next target the AFLAC duck and the GEICO gecko? Such a possibility is best nipped in the bud.