WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, today released the following statement in response to Nickelodeon Television’s decision to restrict use, in certain circumstances, of their licensed characters on packaging of unhealthy foods. Nickelodeon’s announcement comes two days after Discovery Kids announced a decision to stop licensing its name and characters for use in connection with unhealthy food and beverage products. In June, Rep. Markey called attention to the impact of junk food marketing on childhood obesity by chairing a hearing on “Images Kids See on the Screen.”

Rep. Markey said, “I want to commend Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami for her letter, which indicates that Nickelodeon recognizes its responsibility to the child audience and the importance of taking steps to combat the childhood obesity epidemic. As childhood obesity is a serious public health issue, it is vital that the media companies join food and beverage marketers in adopting socially responsible marketing strategies.

“In my view, limits on the amount of junk food advertising seen on children's television, along with strong nutrition standards for food and beverage products advertised and utilized with licensed characters for such children's TV shows, will help address childhood obesity in a positive way. I look forward to reviewing the details and implementation of the additional marketing pledges regarding licensed characters Nickelodeon is making today.

“In addition, I look forward to working with Nickelodeon, as well as with other industry participants, on additional initiatives they can make in the coming weeks and months to further address childhood obesity issues.”

Click here for Nickelodeon President Zarghami’s letter to Rep. Markey.



August 15, 2007

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