Childhood Obesity: Should Junk Food be Regulated?|Business Ethics|Case Study|Case Studies

Childhood Obesity: Should Junk Food be Regulated?

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BECG054 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through Shipping & Handling Charges extra: Rs. 300 +Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1989 - 2005
Pub. Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : McDonald's Corporation et al
Industry : Food
Countries : USA, Europe, Australia, Asia


The case 'Childhood obesity: Should junk food be regulated?' provides an overview of the marketing of junk food (food with limited nutritional value) to children across the world, and the role of government regulations and industry self-regulation. The case looks into the concerns raised by consumer groups and health organizations the world over, due to the increasing levels of childhood obesity which have reached alarming proportions. Junk food manufacturers like McDonald's, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola have come under intense pressure to withdraw advertisements and promotional campaigns that target children. The case also gives a brief account of the arguments put forward by the Alliance for American Advertising (AAA) in defense of the 'rights' of companies to advertise to children.

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This case also discusses the regulations framed by governments in the Europe and Australia, and the initiatives taken by the junk food manufacturers to control obesity in children. It looks at some of the promotional campaigns these companies have designed to motivate children to adopt healthier lifestyles.


Junk food industry and its implications for the childhood obesity issue

Role of government regulations

Self-regulation adopted by various companies through marketing communications, as a preemptive measure against future government regulations

Effects of unethical practices of advertising, i.e., advertising junk foods to children


  Page No.
The Issue 1
Background 2
The Dilemma: Government Regulation or Self-Regulation? 4
Corporate Initiatives 5
Some Food for Thought 10
Exhibits 11


Childhood obesity, Junk food, Television advertising, In-school promotion, Informed choice, Self-regulation, European Union, International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), America on the Move, Healthy Weight 2008 - Australia's Future, Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), The Coca-Cola Company, Kraft Foods, Inc., McDonald's Corporation, PepsiCo Inc., Active Lifestyle, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)

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