The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has welcomed two voluntary initiatives that, it said, will strengthen the existing self-regulatory framework governing the advertising of food and drink to children, as well as increasing the amount of advertising dedicated to promoting healthy products.

The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) yesterday (16 November) announced revisions to the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) self-regulatory guidelines. These revisions broaden CARU's jurisdiction and strengthen CARU's guidance to food and beverage companies, the GMA said.

Separately, CBBB in conjunction with food and beverage companies whicho account for two thirds of television food advertising to children, announced a new programme, the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. The initiative will increase advertising of healthier products directed at children under 12.

"Today's announcements are another significant step in combating obesity, as companies use advertising to promote healthier products and healthy lifestyle messages to children and adults," said C. Manly Molpus, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.  "We congratulate the CBBB, NARC and the many food and beverage companies that participated for their efforts to provide consumers with the tools they need to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"We look forward to working with consumers, parents, policymakers and all stakeholders to tackle obesity and promote increased health and wellness in the months and years ahead," concluded Molpus.