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French Warnings on Junk-Food Ads: Cool or Not?

French women have long been admired for their ability to eat the rich, high-calorie foods of their cuisine without becoming overweight. They have inspired diet tips and books. This moderate food culture might have more to do with the government than we thought because the French Parliament seems to be legislating the two extremes of current weight issues. Recently, they outlawed images of extreme thinness and they are considering taxing fattening foods like french fries pommes frites and hamburgers.

A friend of mine recently visited France and saw health warnings scrolling on the bottom of television ads for junk food, and took a photo of her hotel TV, knowing I'd want to see. The text translates roughly to: "For your health, eat at least five fruits and veggies a day." These warnings are not just limited to TV ads; they can be heard on the radio and seen in print ads as well. The warning reminds me a bit of the warning labels on cigarettes. While I appreciate those labels, I am not quite sure they keep people from lighting up, but hopefully they get smokers thinking.

So what do you think about these warning messages. Do you think they could help solve the obesity problem? Should we imitate our Gallic friends? Are these warnings . . .

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moonlite moonlite 7 years
I think it's awesome! If people see it enough it will make them think more about making healthier choices. Starting small is the best way to go.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
If the Corn Refiners can run ads saying that junk foods with HFCS are "fine in moderation", then it should totally be legal to warn people that junk can be bad for you in excess. Seems fair to me.
nancita nancita 7 years
What a great idea. It's not necessarily a scare tactic or telling you what not to do; just reminding us that if we indulge in junk, we should also get enough nutritious food too.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i think that it's a nice idea - whether it works or not - that's to be seen i'm sure. i feel like people don't always think about what's IN the things that they eat - so this could be a way to monitor it. i just wonder how the manufacturers are going to react.
chocolatine chocolatine 7 years
I'm not sure if the warnings have any effect, but taxation certainly does. I know quite a few people who smoked despite several health scares, but quit when the cost of cigarettes became prohibitive. With taxation, sales of fast food would diminish and the outlets would have to create healthier menu choices to avoid taxation and boost the bottom line. This in turn would help everyone who relies on convenience food eat better. It would be a win/win situation.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 7 years
It would certainly stop my hand from dipping into the chips packet as i'm watching tv.
foxie foxie 7 years
At the very least, it may inspire guilt in a few parents! Ditto on tralala, this isn't an issue of rights. How is this not a good thing?
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
People are old enough to make their own decisions about what they put into their body. I say they are fine as they serve as a nice reminder but you can take the horse to water...
tralalala tralalala 7 years
I think it's brilliant. When I was in the UK I noticed that most foods had the nutrional info on the front of packages instead of hidden in the back, and they were colour coded (like, green was something you could eat lots of, red was something you shouldn't have often, etc) and I thought that was fantastic. There are a lot of people who don't realize what they're putting in their bodies, and taking the guess work out of it is good thing. And cravinsugar, this has nothing to do with rights, you still have the choice to eat whatever you want. I think it's the government's responsibility to do what's best for their citizens. I'm pretty sure (not 100% sure, and I'm not going to do research for a comment haha) that France has universal health care, which means being healthy is in everyone's best interest.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 7 years
Not cool, and a terrible idea. The more the government is involved, the less rights a person has.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 7 years
I think they're a fantastic idea. It may not help every single person, but it's certainly not hurting anything. I've seen a lot more commercials lately in the US about being more active. I think these are great, too.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
"I don't know. I'm sure that just as there are thousands of people who eat way too much junk food, there are thousands who can go out to lunch and order a salad and french fries once in a while and it won't kill them. I am very health conscious but I also love chocolate and french fries and I believe you can balance the two. Not everyone has to eat organic 100% of the time - while I eat organic as much as possible, I also enjoy junk food as well!" They're not for people who eat junk sometimes. It's a reminder for people who eat more junk than anything else and barely have fruits and vegetables in their diet. It's not about eating organic all the time.
sammerbammer sammerbammer 7 years
Man, I wish I lived in Europe. They do all the smart things first. This sounds like an amazing idea. Very happy that at least some parts of the world care about what they put into their bodies.
superfoxml superfoxml 7 years
I think it's a great idea.
Halie Halie 7 years
A reminder like that would prompt me to recount how much fruit and veg I've had and I'd most likely be reminded to eat more!
esweet esweet 7 years
I don't know. I'm sure that just as there are thousands of people who eat way too much junk food, there are thousands who can go out to lunch and order a salad and french fries once in a while and it won't kill them. I am very health conscious but I also love chocolate and french fries and I believe you can balance the two. Not everyone has to eat organic 100% of the time - while I eat organic as much as possible, I also enjoy junk food as well!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I think it's cool. And you're right - when I was a smoker, they didn't stop me, but they certainly made me think twice, especially when I started to consider quitting.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 7 years
I don't mind it at all. It's true that like cigarette warnings, some people would ignore it anyway, but it doesn't hurt to remind people of how we should be eating the majority of the time. It's not like it's forcing anything that someone has to do, even though there's no point in having too much junk in one's every day way of eating.
killitded83 killitded83 7 years
so cool. really good idea, i wish america did that
cmd0610 cmd0610 7 years
They also play on the commericals that come on before the previews before movies- probably making ppl regret buying candies before they sat down :D Snacking and junk-food are bad for you- it's not propaganda, these "warnings" are the simple truth - they should have them here in the US where many ppl have disgusting eating habits.
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