Dennis Kucinich: Don’t Subsidize Childhood Obesity – Revoke tax breaks for junk food advertising

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by Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Washington, Feb 9, 2010

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement after First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new effort to combat childhood obesity:

“I support the First Lady’s ambitious efforts to combat childhood obesity. During childhood, we develop the eating habits and preferences that can drive our food choices for the rest of our lives. We need to ensure that families can make their own decisions about their diet, without the manipulative influence of the highly profitable and sometimes predatory junk food industry.

“Most Americans don’t know that the government now subsidizes the marketing of junk food and fast food to kids in order to cement their brand and taste allegiances early in life. That is why I introduced HR 4310, which would revoke the tax breaks that companies receive for advertising and marketing unhealthy food to children,” said Kucinich.

According to the Institute of Medicine, in 2004 approximately $10 billion was spent on food advertising directed at children. Plainly stated, marketing to children works. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it. A child’s developing brain is no match for a $10 billion industry that uses the best behavioral and developmental research to create emotional bonds to brands before the children’s ability to distinguish fact from opinion has developed.

“By continuing to use hard-earned taxpayer money to subsidize this marketing and advertising, we are undercutting our own efforts to curb the obesity epidemic. HR 4310 would end this practice, protect American children, and ensure that they grow up in a healthy environment. Moreover, in today’s budget-conscious environment, HR 4310 is a commonsense way to provide funding for the First Lady’s initiative,” added Kucinich.


H.R.4310: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect children’s health by denying any deduction for… OpenCongress

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9 thoughts on “Dennis Kucinich: Don’t Subsidize Childhood Obesity – Revoke tax breaks for junk food advertising

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  6. It will never fly, simply because Americans will never admit to themselves that they are deftly manipulated by industry. B. F. Skinner was the most brilliant psychologist of the twentieth century but what most people do not realize is that he was drummed out of academic research because he was such an amoral pig of a human being and that he went on to make millions afterward in the advertising world. Even though he was an awful person people should read “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” his book on conditioning humans, so that they might be forewarned of the powerful influences that they are subject to. No one will listen to this warning however because Americans are so enamoured of their beliefs in “free will” and “personal responsibility”. One powerful example is big tobacco. Having been tobacco free for a decade, I watch the pitiful example of my smoking friends who are victims of the best scientific marketing and continual efforts to make their product more and more addictive, continue to take responsibility for what is being done to them by making ridiculous excuses such as “it relaxes me” or “it tastes good” when it does no such thing. It is simply an addictive substance deliberately made more addictive and cleverly marketed to children and unsophisticated adults. I can easily remember when they would put up pavilions outside of stores and give away free samples to children as young as twelve.

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