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Michelle Obama on food marketing: “Kids are like little sponges”

First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama

WASHINGTON – First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about food marketing to children on Thursday, and how the nation has begun to “move the needle” on child obesity .

The Let’s Move! initiative is designed to lower the obesity rate in children and to “make the healthy choice the easy choice for American families,” Mrs. Obama said.

“For the first time in decades, we’re actually starting to move the needle on this issue.  Between 2008 and 2011, obesity rates among low-income preschoolers dropped in 19 states and territories across the country.”

According to the First Lady, marketing and other sources of information can make it easier for families to make healthier choices, or act as a barrier to better choices.

“The average child watches thousands of food advertisements each year, and 86 percent of these ads are for products loaded with sugar, fat, salt,” the First Lady said.  “By contrast, our kids see an average of just one ad a week for healthy products like water to fruits and vegetables.  Just one ad a week.”

The White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children brought together a wide range of leaders working on this issue–from experts, advocates, and parents to food, beverage, media and entertainment companies to identify opportunities for action that ensure marketing supports the health of kids and families.

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