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Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut), who is campaigning for his party's presidential nomination, has called for a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into the marketing practices of junk food manufacturers that would determine whether there is a connection between junk food advertising and the rise in obesity among youngsters.

The senator, as part of what he is calling a "family-friendly" agenda, said that if elected president he would call for three interim steps to be taken by the FTC:

  • Require junk food advertisements to include nutritional information that includes parental warnings similar to those in movie ads.

  • Require the prominent posting of nutrition information on fast food chain menu boards.

  • Regulate the food sold in school cafeterias and in-school vending machines.

A Lieberman campaign spokesman said that the senator will not define what junk food is, leaving that to dietary and health care experts.
KC's View:
Yeah, like a federal probe is a guaranteed fix.

It doesn't take a genius to know that there is a connection between junk food advertising and the rise in obesity among youngsters. These companies spend a small fortune promoting their products in terms that appeal to children. The issue is what role the government should play in its regulation…and quite frankly, we're a lot more comfortable with the notion of requiring full disclosure and educational efforts than we are with regulating what can and cannot be sold to kids. (Actually, we'd prefer it if major manufacturers would simply pledge to spend a specific amount of their marketing dollars on improving nutritional education. Make the pledge loud and clear and then live up to it with more healthful food that doesn't cater to the lowest common denominator. If they'd do that on any sort of mass scale, maybe there wouldn’t be a need for regulation.)

One of the few areas in which a high level of advertising doesn't seem to ignite the imagination of the consumer public would be campaign advertising - most of which, at this point, only seems to depress us and increase our natural cynicism. Based on his campaign results so far, maybe Lieberman ought to be hiring McDonald's marketing people, not criticizing them…