An alarming percentage of American children and youth age 2–17 are either obese (17 %) or at risk of becoming obese (32 %) (IOM, 2005). Childhood obesity affects children at all ages, ethnicities, and gender; moreover, obesity rates have tripled over the past thirty years across all age groups and increased fivefold for 6- to 11-year-old children in the past 50 years. In 2005, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a study report on childhood obesity which acknowledged that there are many factors that have contributed to childhood obesity: changes in the built environment that promote sedentary lifestyles, school food service policies, and the rise of sales of “competitive foods” such as candy and parent family’s practices of eating out and inattention to physical activity. One factor which is acknowledged in that report but was examined further in a subsequent IOM study is the role of food marketing in influencing children’s diets (IOM, 2005).
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