The unhealthy food ads that hypnotize children Childhood obesity around the world, and particularly in the United States, is an escalating problem that is detrimental as its effects go on into adulthood. Each and every day we see a commercial about some fast food company trying to lure consumers into purchasing their products which are very unhealthy and have lead to the rise of obesity in this country, more importantly it’s the next generation that this is going to have a huge effect on.
Children are spending less time exercising outdoors and more time watching television and playing video games, making their exposure to fast food ads greater. Then the parents go out and get these unhealthy foods for their child making it very easy for the child to face huge health problems later in life. There are many that feel the need to blame the parents for not being a good role model, but that’s another issue that also spurs up a controversial argument on the subject. Advertisement of fast food companies contribute to the epidemic of childhood obesity and do not plan on stopping anytime soon.
Fast food advertising has increased its target to two to eighteen year olds. Researchers found that “40% of parents reported that their child asked to go to McDonald’s at least once a week” (Melnick). This was after the children were exposed to fast food ads. Although fast food companies like McDonald’s and Burger King pledged to reduce their marketing towards children on television, they are still digitally out there. McDonald’s has 13 different websites targeted at various age groups; one site, Ronald. com, is specifically designed for preschoolers.
Together, McDonald’s family of websites got 365,000 unique visitors aged 12 or younger per month and 249,000 teen visitors, the new report found. Nine of the 12 restaurant chains studies also had at least 1,000,000 “fans” on Facebook; Starbucks lead with 13 million fans (Melnick). This may be good for the business of these companies but the downside of this is that children are becoming overweight earlier in life due to these implications of fast food advertisements. More importantly the fact that the government allows these companies to invade our homes with this junk and allowing children to access this content is a serious health hazard.
Parents have the control to make the healthier choice for their children but are being more lenient with them. Many families don’t have the time to make meals for their children so they turn to fast food since it’s more convenient. Why not? Children love their food and it’s not only tasty but it’s also cheaper and less time consuming than buying groceries at the supermarket. Children do not have the ability to tell the difference from the advertising of the product and the reality of what the outcome of using the product will have on them if they continue to consume the product regularly.
That’s the main reason fast food and junk food ad’s need to be banned, if not the only reason. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), consists of 60,000 doctors are trying to form a legal ban on fast food advertising during children programs. This alone would drop the rate of obesity and overweight by 17 percent. The ban of the use of junk food in all television shows would make that number much larger, but it would be very hard to file a lawsuit to stop a company as big as McDonalds from doing what they’ve been doing for years.
Michelle Obama, the current first lady has a plan to eliminate childhood obesity within the next generation. It’s an ambitious goal, but we don’t have time to wait,” the first lady said in an interview with USA TODAY in her spacious office in the East Wing of the White House. “We’ve got to stop citing statistics and wringing our hands and feeling guilty, and get going on this issue (Obama). She’s right, the amount of children that are diagnosed as obese is ridiculous and the government should not only address the issue but put some stops on the advertisement of these products.
About 25 million kids are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The pounds that are being calculated from these kids today are putting them at a greater risk of several heart diseases including type two diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. “A 2005 study found that kids today may lead shorter lives by two to five years than their parents because of obesity” (Hall). Obama states that obesity costs the country $147 billion a year in weight-related medical bills.
She plans to put healthier foods into school cafeterias, put more accurate labels on foods, place better grocery stores into communities that lack them, give out public service announcements, and find ways to get children to be more active. Her plan requires new funding that will also be costly to Americans. She plans on spending $400 million to get grocery stores into communities without them, $25 million for school cafeteria renovations, and $10 billion over 10 years for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act which will help school serve more kids nutritious foods.
She wants parents to restrict television viewing and engage more outside play to get kids more active. She believes if we take it one step at a time, we will change the health status of kids over time. Although she doesn’t have a word on the advertising of junk foods she is making an effort to regulate healthier habits. The advertising of junk food has gone beyond just television and the internet, these junk food companies are spending more and more every year on advertising. In 2006, food companies spent $1. 6 billion marketing products — mostly soda, fast food and cereal — to kids.
That same year, fast food restaurants sold more than 1. 2 billion kids’ meals with toys (Richardson). Ever since then, the numbers were on the rise. Richardson states that marketers are using sophisticated child psychology to help children want their product more. A child tends to nag their parents to get them fast food because they’ve seen the product on television and what do parents do, they get it to them. The parent knows that it’s not the right choice but they want to see their kids happy so they don’t think of the consequences.
The Center for a New American Dream found that brand loyalty can be established as early as age two and could last a lifetime. This is in fact due to the emotional link a certain brand has with a child and could be terminated with the banning of televised junk food ads. Watching television and childhood obesity has been a well known factor for many years and needs to be put to a stop. A recent study found that watching television and childhood obesity is directly related to commercials that display unhealthy foods. Childhood obesity has been a growing issue recently and advertising has a great deal in causing this problem.
Advertisements has evolved and gained more audience throughout the years, making childhood obesity an epidemic. Society has also become more tolerant to unhealthy lifestyles and lower physical activity making the risk of becoming obese greater at a younger age. The government has already made efforts towards making healthier habits but needs to ban all of these unhealthy food ads on television to have larger results. Works Cited Hall, Mimi, and Nanci Helmich. “Michelle Obama Aims to End Child Obesity in a Generation – USATODAY. com. ” News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment,