While delivering her opening remarks at the Food Marketing Summit held at the White House, Michelle Obama said she wants food makers and entertainment companies to do better. She urged them to focus more on promoting healthier options for kids instead of advertising sweet and salty foods. She said although there is a “cultural shift” taking place with healthier options in restaurants and schools, the fact remains that 1 out of 3 kids are suffering from obesity.
The attendees of the summit included representatives from the food and media industries, advocacy and parent groups, government agencies, research institutions and others attended. “I’m here today with one simple request and that is to do even more and move even faster to market responsibly to our kids,” the first lady said to them.
But will they listen?
“The fact is that marketing nutritious foods to our kids isn’t just good for our kids’ health, it can also be good for companies’ bottom lines,” said Mrs. Obama.
Some companies have already taken the initiative to change their marketing. Walt Disney Co. no longer has junk-food ads on its media channels, websites and theme parks. Birds Eye frozen food company recently started using characters from the Nickelodeon comedy “iCarly” in promotions encouraging kids to eat their veggies.
Mrs. Obama also joked that some companies might think they can wait it out and go back to business as usual after she leaves the White House. She said childhood obesity will be a problem for years.
“I didn’t create this issue and it’s not going to go away three and a half years from now when I’m no longer first lady,” Mrs. Obama said.