As a recreation professional, you have a responsiblity to the community you serve to learn about Marketing to Children. This page, and the resources on it, are designed to equip you with knowledge, tools and actions you can take in your facilities to minimize the negative impact of marketing unhealthy food and beverages to children. For example, did you know that although younger children do not have the cognitive abilities to differentiate truth from fiction, they do respond to marketing messages that include colours, characters, fun messages etc? In fact some children associate green with being ‘healthier stuff”.
Resources for Recreation Staff
BC has developed a short 4 page flyer that can be circulated to recreation centre staff to help create a general awareness of what we know about marketing to children, why we need to be aware of it and how we can take action in our facilities. The flyer is called “Addressing Marketing to Children in Your Community“. Please share this will all the staff in your facilities.
Resources for the Community
There are four 2-page information sheets that were designed to create awarness of the different ways that marketers use tools to influence children. You are encouraged to post them in your facilities. The more aware we all are, the better able we are to take action to minimize the negative impact of marketing unhealthy food and beverage options on our children. The resources were developed through the University of Calgary in Alberta and we are grateful to be able to share them with you. They are are listed below and are all part of their Media Literacy & Food Marketing Series:
- Colour Use in Food Packaging
- Brand Names, Taglines and Health Symbols on Food Packaging
- Images and Spokescharacters on Food Packaging
- Food Classification and Food Marketing
Marketing to Children Awareness – Interview with Dr. Tom Warshawski
Dr. Warshawski is the of the Chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation and the Head of Pediatrics at Kelowna General Hospital. See this interview with him as he talks about the impact of marketing strategies on children and familiies
Information on the ‘Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition’
Co-led by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Childhood Obesity Foundation, the Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition says the time has come to protect children and to support parents to make healthy decisions for their families. The coalition has developed the Ottawa Principles, which outline the policy recommendation of restricting commercial marketing of all food and beverages to children and youth 16 and under, with marketing being defined as any means of advertising or promoting products or services. The restrictions would not apply to non-commercial marketing for valid public health education or public awareness campaigns. The Ottawa Principles also include a set of definitions, scope, and principles to guide policy development.
More information about the coalition including the Ottawa Principles, and a mechanism for concerned Canadians to send their member of parliament a letter supporting restrictions on food and beverage marketing to kids, is available at the coalition website at http://www.stopmarketingtokids.ca