New York University Nutrition Professor Marion Nestle recently gave an interview with Childhood Obesity’s features editor, Jamie Devereaux, on healthy food access, the role of packaged foods in diets, and “the topic of peer pressure in eating fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, and brand-name snacks.” While supporting federal policy to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption in low-access areas, Nestle noted barriers to cooking at home such as a lack of proper equipment and a narrow food selection exacerbated by income inequality. But she also blamed industry for allegedly fostering peer pressure among young consumers to choose certain foods and beverages above others.
“Food marketers deliberately target children and adolescents for marketing, much of it designed to associate the product to the emotional gains from peer bonding,” Nestle opined. “The purpose of food advertising is to make kids think they are supposed to be eating kids’ food—food made just for them—and that they know more about what they are supposed to eat than their parents do… Kids don’t need kids’ food. If adults are eating healthfully, kids should be eating the same foods that adults eat.” See Childhood Obesity, October 2012.