Is Fast Food Stalking Our Kids?

Statement from Angela Glover Blackwell on the release of Fast Food F.A.C.T.S., a new report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Ms. Blackwell is founder and CEO of PolicyLink and advisory board chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity.

“It seems fast food companies are stalking black and Latino children. Compared to white children, the communities black and Latino children live in are overrun by fast-food stores and lack the fresh food options many of us take for granted. The new findings by The Rudd Center show that black children see 50 percent more fast food ads than their white peers – on TV and online. Latino preschoolers see nearly 300 Spanish-language fast food TV ads every year.

“It is no coincidence that black and Latino children also face the highest risk for obesity and diabetes. A 2008 report by PolicyLink, UCLA, and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy found a direct connection between a person’s risk for obesity-related diseases and their “local food environment” – the balance of healthy-vs-unhealthy food stores nearby. The greater the number of nearby fast food stores (and fewer fresh food stores), the higher risk that person runs for obesity and diabetes.

“For children, the problem is only getting worse. Compared to just two years ago, preschoolers now see 21 percent more ads for McDonalds, for instance. We must help all children live in an environment where the healthy option is the easy option. We must encourage existing convenience stores to carry fresh fruits and vegetables and help new healthy food stores open up in underserved communities. The Rudd Center’s new findings show the urgency of our challenge – and our need to act now.”

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