Advertising And Its Effect On Childhood Obesity

1521 words - 6 pages

How does advertising affect childhood obesity? First, let’s define advertising. Advertising is a way for one to call public attention to a product, service, or need. When advertising a product, the idea is to create an interest or need in the consumer, to purchase the product. Recently, obesity has been hitting the United States in great numbers. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for sleep apnea, social and psychological problems, and low self-esteem. Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults, and develop all of the health problems obesity causes. Such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Food advertising is linked to childhood obesity, and is a great contribution to the problem.
Food advertising contributes to childhood obesity in many ways. One of them being that the food advertised is unhealthy. “The mechanism of effect of media exposure on obesity may also operate through the extensive advertising messages for unhealthy foods targeted at children.” (Agarwal, Dhanasekaran) The food advertising geared towards children makes them develop unhealthy eating habits, and choices. The advertisements are usually advertising unhealthy foods, never healthy ones. “When children watch television, they cannot escape food advertising. “Sugared snacks and drinks, cereal, and fast food advertisements respectively comprise approximately thirty-two percent, thirty-one percent, and nine percent of all advertisements marketed specifically to children.” (Termini, Roberto, Hostetter) Due to limited cognitive abilities, children view many food advertisements, and don’t really have the knowledge or capability to comprehend that the food being advertised is not healthy.
They don’t believe that anybody would want to sell them something that harms them, so they might plead to their parents to get them that cereal with the funny talking frog on the cover, not knowing how many sugars are in the cereal, and how harmful it is to their bodies. “Reducing the amount of time that children are allowed to watch television is one strategy that offers children opportunities for activity, and it is likely to alter requests for advertised foods as well.” (Dietz) If we reduce the amount of television that our children watch, they are likely to be exposed less to food advertising. This means that they won’t ask for those unhealthy foods, and can make better choices to reduce their risk for obesity.
The food advertisements have a direct impact on the foods that children prefer to consume. “Direct evidence indicates that television food advertising increases children’s preferences for the foods advertised and their requests to parents for those foods.” (Harris, Pomeranz, Lobstein, and Brownell) Food advertisements are geared towards unhealthy foods. Therefore, since the foods advertised increases the children’s preference for those foods, the children are more likely to not eat the foods that their parents provide. They...

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