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Fast Food Advertising

A new study finds that banning fast food advertising during children’s TV-shows could reduce obesity in children ages 3-11 by 18%. In children ages 12-18 the effect would be less, about 14% according to the study. 

The study was published in the Journal of Law and Economics, and conducted by researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) with funding from the National Institutes of Health. The researchers used data from the 1979 Child-Young Adult National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, enabling them to assess the viewing habits of over 13,000 children.

The researchers pointed out that implementing a ban on advertising might not be the most practical thing to do. The only countries having this kind of ban against commercial sponsorship of children’s TV-shows are currently Norway, Sweden and Finland, and these countries have a much more of a tradition for government involvement in these kinds of matters than the US. Another solution might be to eliminate the tax deductibility that comes with advertising. Since advertising is considered an expense it reduces the company’s income and thus the amount of tax. Eliminating the deductibility would in effect mean that advertising would become about 54% more expensive, and even though it would be less effective than an advertising ban, it would still reduce by about 5-7%.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Economics, Medicine | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment