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J Law Med Ethics. 2010 Spring;38(1):98-116. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2010.00470.x.

Television food marketing to children revisited: the Federal Trade Commission has the constitutional and statutory authority to regulate.

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Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, CT, USA.


The evidence reveals that young children are targeted by food and beverage advertisers but are unable to comprehend the commercial context and persuasive intent of marketing. Although the First Amendment protects commercial speech, it does not protect deceptive and misleading speech for profit. Marketing directed at children may fall into this category of unprotected speech. Further, children do not have the same First Amendment right to receive speech as adults. For the first time since the Federal Trade Commission's original attempt to regulate marketing to children in the 1970s (termed KidVid), the political, scientific, and legal climate coalesce to make the time well-suited to reevaluate the FTC's authority for action. This paper analyzes the constitutional authority for the FTC to regulate television food marketing directed at children as deceptive in light of the most robust public health evidence on the subject.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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