We Must Regulate The Advertising Of Unhealthy Fast Food

1677 words - 7 pages

Think back to last year’s Super Bowl. What do we really remember about the event? One might say the game-winning drive, the players excitement, but what most of us remember was the commercials. The hilarious Old Spice commericals, the creative, funny, car commercials, and most importantly the dozens of commercials about food. Ranging from Campbell’s Soup, to Snickers, to Coca Cola, these commercials seem to be shown just for our entertainment; however, although we might not realize it, they do influence our decision making down the road. It no longer amazes people when they hear about how companies pay millions of dollars for a few minutes of airtime on events such as the Super Bowl. Over that past several years, research is starting to show just how the advertisements we seeareinfluencing our decision making and how the advertisement companies are maximizing their likelihood of success. Advertisements are now geared more toward the younger generation, namely children; they come on at times when there is the highest amount of viewers on these children shows, and they generally show conventional and unhealthy snack type foods. The governments of many countries claim that the food being advertised is healthy and beneficial to these children, but studies have begun to show that these foods are in fact high in fat, sugar, salt, and are in no way healthy for children.
Today governments around the world are implementing what they believe to be strict and beneficial laws on what types of food can be advertised to the general public and especially children. However studies around the globe are starting to prove otherwise. In a study based in Singapore, researchers aimed to “determine the degree and nature of food advertisements that Singaporean children are exposed to on television” (Huang et al. 1). These researchers recorded, and analyzed ninety-eight hours of television programmes that are watched by children; thirty-four hours of weekend programs, and sixty-four hours of weekday programs. Within these ninety-eight hours of recorded program times, a total of 1344 advertisements were found. Out of these 1344 advertisements, thirty-three percent, around four and a half advertisementsperhour, were for food. The shocking thing about these commercials however, was the fact that around seventy-nine percent of these food commercials were for candy, and fast food. Foods were classified as “healthy” if they met Singapore’s Healthier Choice Symbol, but the food being advertised was clearly not.
The study from Singapore is just one specific example of how much pressure the media is placing on children, and what they consume, and how unbeneficial this pressure is. Another study conducted by Kristen Harrison and Amy L. Marske also shows the correlation between food advertising, how it is geared towards children, and the nutritional benefits, or lack thereof, of the foods being advertised. These researchers focused on just the nutritional content of the foods...

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