Today I Debate the Ethics of Marketing Healthy Food to Kids

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 8, 2014

Today on Beyond Chron, I debate my friend and colleague Casey Hinds of US Healthy Kids on the ethics of marketing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables to children.  You can read my “pro” piece here, and Casey’s “con” here. Thanks to Beyond Chron for giving us this platform, and to Casey for having the idea […]


In 2010 I told you about a new $25 million ad campaign, sponsored by carrot growers, to attract kids to baby carrots through the use of junk food-style packaging and marketing.  Back then I mocked the effort, saying: Somehow I don’t think today’s kids are going to willingly trade in their Flamin’ Hot Cheetos for carrots, no matter […]


Last Day to Tell USDA You Support Strong Wellness Policies!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 28, 2014

Back in February, USDA released proposed rules for district wellness policies which, if implemented, will hold schools and districts far more accountable in improving their campus health environments.  Among other advances, the new rules ask districts to set specific wellness goals (versus the vague, purely aspirational statements contained in most policies around the country right now) […]

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Two days ago, I told you about proposed USDA rules, promoted by the First Lady and released on the fourth anniversary of her Let’s Move! initiative, which would curb the marketing of foods and beverages on school campuses.  Specifically, if adopted, the new rules would restrict on-campus advertising during the school day to foods and beverages meeting the […]


Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama and the USDA made headlines by announcing a proposal to ban the marketing of junk food and sugary beverages on school campuses.  Timed to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Ms. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, the proposal would restrict on-campus advertising to only those products meeting the relatively stringent nutritional requirements […]


Fast Food Industry Spends $4.6 Billion to Target Your Kids

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 11, 2013

Last week, a few of you questioned my endorsement of a new arrangement between the Sesame Street Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association in which Sesame Street characters will be used to market fresh fruits and vegetables to children.  There’s an understandable concern that kids, because they are uniquely impressionable, should not be manipulated in […]

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It’s OK – Let Elmo Be a Carrot Pusher

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 6, 2013

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) will join the Partnership for a Healthier America to help promote fruits and vegetables to kids.  Specifically, PMA’s growers, suppliers and retailers will be allowed for two years to use iconic characters such as Elmo and Big Bird in messaging and on produce sold in stores […]


While this blog was dominated by the discussion of Chinese-processed chicken in school meals, a lot has been going on in the kid-and-food-news world.  Here’s a quick roundup to keep you up to speed. First Lady Addresses Problem of Junk Food Marketing to Kids On September 19th, Michelle Obama convened a landmark summit at the […]


A public school child is taught reading literacy with McDonald’s-branded materials.   A teacher hands a child a McDonald’s restaurant coupon as a reward for good performance.  Schools raise money through McTeacher Nights where the school staff dishes out fast food for students and their families. What do you think about these incursions by McDonald’s into […]


Is It Wrong to Market Even *Healthy* Food to Kids?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on June 26, 2013

That’s the contention put forth by public health lawyer Michele Simon (Eat Drink Politics) and Susan Linn, Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, in a recent article. Noting — as I often have on this blog — that cognitive deficits make children especially vulnerable to the persuasive power of advertising, Simon and Linn object to any […]