Health updates

The following is new information regarding food advertising to children and the demise of livestock.

Food giants brainwashing kids

A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reports that the annual $10 billion the food and beverage industry spends on advertising to kids is working. They found that four out of five kids preferred the flavor of foods served in McDonald’s packaging as compared to the same foods served in packaging without the McDonald’s brand.

By the time they are 2 years old, children may already have beliefs about certain brands, and by the age of 6, they can recognize brands and specific products.

Not surprisingly, the study found that kids with more televisions in the home had stronger brand preferences.

The authors suggest this study strengthens the justification for tighter regulation or banning of the advertising and marketing of high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks, and perhaps a ban on all marketing aimed at young children.

Industrial agriculture is driving livestock breeds to extinction

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a study in September 2007 revealing that an over-reliance on some breeds of livestock imported from the U.S. and Europe is causing the loss of at least one indigenous livestock breed a month.

Researchers found at least 2,000 local breeds to be at risk of extinction due to over-reliance on imported breeds, such as the high-milk-yielding Holstein-Friesian cows, egg-laying White Leghorn chickens and fast-growing large white pigs. In industrialized countries, 90 percent of cattle come from only six specific breeds.

The report, to which the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other research groups also contributed, surveyed farm animals in 169 countries and found that nearly 70 percent of the world’s entire remaining unique livestock breeds are found in developing countries.

Worldwide, one billion people are involved in animal farming and 70 percent of the rural poor depend on livestock as an important part of their livelihoods.



Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 5, October/November 2007.

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