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Senators urge Nickelodeon to ban ads for unhealthy foods

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., wrote Nickelodeon officials today that the television channel should ban advertisements for “unhealthy foods targeting children.”

“As a leading multi-media entertainment destination for children and adolescents, Nickelodeon has a special opportunity — and responsibility — to help address our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic,” the four Democratic senators wrote Philippe Dauman, president and CEO of Viacom, Inc., Nickelodeon's parent company, and Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami.

Noting that childhood obesity has doubled among children and tripled among adolescents leading to various health problems, the senators said that the Walt Disney Corporation announced a year ago that it “would no longer accept advertisements for unhealthy foods on television, radio, and websites directed at children,” and suggested that Nickelodeon “promptly take similar action to implement strong nutrition standards for all of its marketing to children.”