H&S 2017 Report on the Health of Canadians


The kids are not alright: How the food and beverage industry is marketing our children and youth to death

Once upon a time marketing to kids mostly meant commercials on Saturday morning; many adults have fond memories of ads that featured cartoon characters from their favourite sugary cereals. Television commercials are still a major ad platform and mascots still hawk sweet bowls of breakfast food, but today’s kids are bombarded with food and beverage marketing morning, noon and night, every day of the week.

Marketing is big business and it is sophisticated. Millions of dollars are spent convincing our impressionable children and teens they want a whole range of products, including food and beverages that are having a devastating effect on their health. Children and youth are targeted through multiple channels and locations including movies and video games, websites, apps and social media. Marketing targets kids in their homes, at school, on the street, and in rec centres, stores, restaurants, and through celebrity endorsements. In short, it is anywhere and everywhere.

It is time for this marketing storm to stop. One of the most effective ways to protect kids and support parents is to implement strong restrictions on the commercial marketing of food and beverage to children and youth, and Heart & Stroke is calling on government to table and pass legislation without delay.

The Heart & Stroke 2017 Report on the Health of Canadians examines how industry is marketing unhealthy food and beverages directly to our children and youth, and how this is affecting their preferences and choices, their family relationships and their health. We looked at national and international studies and reports and we polled Canadians to understand their perspectives on the issue. We also commissioned one of the country’s leading researchers to examine the volume of food and beverage advertising online to Canadian children and teens, and the quality of the products — the first research of its kind in the country.

Read the report at heartandstroke.ca/heartreport.

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