Omidi Brothers Commend Strengthening of Guidelines for Child-Directed Food & Drink Ads

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Dr. Michael Omidi and Julian Omidi, through their non-profit The Children’s Obesity Fund, commend a cooperative initiative of the Better Business Bureau for strengthening its guidelines for industry advertising during children’s programming. The prevalence of ads, featuring non-healthy food and beverage products, plays a large role in today’s children’s obesity epidemic.

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The nearly constant promotion of sugary snacks and fast food items is a contributing factor to today’s obesity epidemic and the practice needs to be curbed.

The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, an off shoot of the Better Business Bureau, updated its health standards and guidelines in response to a recent study which found that almost all food and beverage advertisements feature junk food products. Dr. Michael Omidi and Julian Omidi, cofounders of the Children’s Obesity Fund, commend this important move as the nation works together to reverse the trend of childhood obesity which has more than doubled in children and tripled among adolescents in the last 30 years.

The study conducted by the University of Illinois at Chicago found that 98 percent of the ads seen regularly by children featured products high in what the industry calls “nutrients to limit,” which means they are high in fats, trans fats, sugar, and sodium. The Initiative’s new guidelines went into effect December 31, 2013 and are intended to provide greater clarity and definition of the recommended health standards. The guidelines include lower limits for calories and “nutrients to limit”, prohibit claims of “less calories” or “less sodium”, address portion-controlled packaging, and promote more fruits and vegetables (

“Today’s mass media and the many advertisements it contains are incredibly powerful. We are all influenced to some degree, but children in particular are very susceptible to their messages,” says Children’s Obesity Fund cofounder Dr. Michael Omidi. “The nearly constant promotion of sugary snacks and fast food items is a contributing factor to today’s obesity epidemic and the practice needs to be curbed. We can no longer stand silently by as the health of our children is severely compromised by these aggressive advertising practices.”

The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative ( was introduced in 1977 by the Better Business Bureau. It is a self-regulating group of manufacturers who agree to shift the mix of foods advertised to children under 12 to encourage healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles. Initiative participants include 18 of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies.

Co-founded by Julian Omidi and Dr. Michael Omidi, the Children’s Obesity Fund ( hopes to help reverse the trend of rising obesity rates in America. The goal of the non-profit charity is to help people fully understand the obesity issue and its dire impacts on individuals and society as a whole -- and to use that knowledge to encourage children to grow up strong and healthy. Children’s Obesity Fund partners with other organizations to educate and support parents, educators and others so that we can all work together to raise healthy, active, social, and happy children. While the organization does not accept donations, it does encourage direct contributions of money and talents to the associations featured on our website. Children’s Obesity Fund is on Facebook as well as Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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