Start: 95.4 Last week: 87.6 This week: 87.5

A day late, because I wanted to get yesterday's bread recipe done. But that's yesterday's weight up there.

Everyone knows that kids need advertisements to tell them what to nag for. Food is no exception. But food manufacturers, smarting under recent attacks, decided in 2007 to launch a Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and limit their advertising to children on TV. Responsible, eh?

Children Now, a public policy group, commissioned an independent survey of the Initiative’s impact from researchers at the University of Arizona. The report, available at the Children Now website, makes interesting reading.

Adverts for the nutritionally worst foods have dropped by almost 14%.

From 84% of food ads to 72.5%. C’mon! Credit where credit is due. That can’t have been easy.

I particularly like the categorizations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has devised to guide food choices for children. The worst, nutritionally, are known as “Whoa” foods; these products should be consumed only on “special occasions, such as your birthday”. Truly healthy foods, such as vegetables and fruits, are known as “Go” products, while the middle ground is occupied by "Slow" foods.

More nice headline numbers: Industry more than doubled advertising of "Slow" foods -- which remember the DHSS says are better for children -- from 12.9% of food ads to a whopping 26.6%. Alas, the industry let itself down on “Go” foods. Adverts for fruits and vegetables shrank by more than two-thirds, from 3.0% of food ads to 0.9%. As one pusillanimous do-gooding website whined:

If you are looking for ads about fruits and vegetables, be prepared to wait, and wait, and wait: the authors found that you’d need to watch children’s programs for 10 hours before seeing one.

On the bright side, those adverts are no longer interrupting TV viewing and contributing to ADHD.

The US Federal Trade Commission was due to hold a hearing on Sizing Up Food Marketing and Childhood Obesity yesterday.

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