Statement of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s Co-Founder Dr. Susan Linn in Support of Lawsuits Against Viacom and Kellogg

Date of Release: 

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January 18, 2005

Statement of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s  Co-Founder Dr. Susan Linn in Support of Lawsuits Against Viacom and Kellogg

There is no moral, ethical, or social justification for marketing junk food to children. Childhood obesity is a major public health problem. Overweight children are at risk for a number of serious medical problems including Type 2 diabetes; yet children continue to be inundated with ads for foods high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories.

We know that children’s food choices and purchase requests are significantly influenced by marketing. We know that children are more vulnerable to marketing than adults, and that young children are particularly vulnerable. We know that it is inherently unfair for children under the age of eight to be targets for advertising, because they do not have the cognitive wherewithal to understand its persuasive intent. Given what we know, it is unconscionable that Viacom and Kellogg continue to market directly and aggressively to our youngest and most impressionable children.

It’s not just that Viacom and Kellogg market to children. They are leaders in the field. Their brands infiltrate nearly every aspect of children’s lives. Television commercials and Internet advertising combine with brand licensing, in-school marketing, promotions, contests, and advergames to sabotage parents’ best efforts to raise healthy children, turning kids into miniature lobbyists for products such as SpongeBob Squarepants Wild Bubble-Berry Pop Tarts and Dora the Explorer Fruit Snacks.

Children have the right to grow up, and parents have the right to raise them, without being undermined by commercial interests. For over thirty years, public health advocates have urged companies to stop marketing junk food to children. Even as rates of childhood obesity have soared, neither Viacom nor Kellogg have listened. And now the stakes are too high. We can no longer stand by as our children’s health is sacrificed for corporate profits.

Click here for more information on the CSPI, CCFC lawsuit.