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More PE, Not Fewer Ads, Says AAF

Saying that kids ad critic Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest want to turn the country into a kind of food police state, American Advertising Federation President Wally Snyder argued Monday for more exercise, not more restrictions on advertising.

"So what do Senator Harkin, and some consumer groups like CSPI want?  It is to go far beyond traditional regulation of food advertising by the Federal Trade Commission.  It is to go far beyond the outstanding self-regulation of advertising done by the industry.  It is to go to a place far, far away where we’ve never been before, and have no business going now," warned Snyder in a speech to the Arkansas Advertising Federation.

"It is to go to a place where 'food police' will determine which foods are 'good foods' and which foods are 'bad foods,' and to only allow the good ones to be advertised to children.

"There is no correlation between advertising and childhood obesity trends," Snyder told his audience.

While saying that concerns over rising rates of childhood obesity are justified, Snyder called on the government and industry to fund before and after-school PE programs, saying "According to Nielson Media Research – backed up by a 2005 Federal Trade Commission study – children are seeing fewer commercials for food products and restaurants than they did a decade ago, and yet they’re heavier. I’m no mathematician, but that doesn’t add up."

Advertising was a visible and inviting target, he said, but "A lack of exercise and moderation in diets are the culprits."