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Do Companies Deserve Tax Breaks For Junk Food Ads Aimed At Kids?

Categories: The Critic
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Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) sure doesn't think so. The courageous congressman should be applauded for having introduced legislation aimed at preventing businesses from writing off advertising of junk food targeted towards children. Specifically, congressional measure HR 4310 would prohibit any company from claiming a tax deduction for expenses derived from advertising, to children, any fast food or food of limited nutritional value.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that up to 50 percent of all television advertising during children's programs is dedicated to food, and that the vast majority of these are for junk food. Data from the same survey showed that of over 8,000 ads aired during children's shows, not a single one advertised fresh fruits or vegetables.
In an eminently related study, it was estimated that among American children ages six to 11, 33 percent are overweight and 17 percent are obese. Kucinich is fed up with taxpayers "effectively subsidizing the spread of the obesity epidemic," and at the same time believes that the bill could potentially raise billions of dollars in revenue to fund child nutrition and anti-obesity initiatives. 

Australia, Sweden, Great Britain, and about 50 other countries have already instituted laws limiting youth-targeted food advertising. Kucinich's legislation  thus far has 25 cosponsors and is endorsed by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, the Obesity Action Coalition, and the American Public Health Association.

Which way is your congressman or congresswoman going to vote?

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