Advertising and Childhood Obesity
The modern day television ads with the animation, musical jingles are making kids crave for high-calorie, low-nutritious food. Kids are influenced unknowingly by the advertisements aired during their favorite cartoon show or children’s show. The link between advertising and childhood obesity is strong, though we may not realize it.
How Does Advertising Influence Childhood Obesity?
The foods which are advertised on television are mostly high in calories, low in nutrition, full of sugar and fats. Kids can eat such foods once in a while. However, when kids eat them on a day-to-day basis, they can become obese
These television commercials are aired when the kids are available i.e. from 2 pm to 10 pm. The ads come along with their favorite cartoon shows, child-friendly shows, afternoon shows etc. The ads influence children in the following ways:
- The advertisements have interesting action-filled visual effects as well as sound effects
- They are animated and dramatized
- Some ads offer a free toys along with some food
- The advertised foods are packed with bright, colorful pictures
Kids have difficulty in analyzing the dialogues and voice-overs. Hence, the above methods work effectively to influence them. Hence, don’t be surprised when your child asks for a particular food when you go to a supermarket
How can Parents Help?
A study by National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found out that if fast food commercials are banned in the United States, the number of overweight children can be reduced by 18%. Even though parents cannot control the advertisements, they can do the following to stop their influence:
- Get knowledgeable about healthy food choices such as fruits, vegetables, high-fiber foods, and make sure your kids start eating healthy
- Active kids become active adults. Hence, encourage them to go out and play games, sports which involve physical activity
- Set limits for television viewing, playing video games etc.
- Join your kids to a sports’ program in school, or other sports clubs
Eating healthy and avoiding sedentary habits by being active is the only way to combat obesity. Keep your children safe from commercials by enforcing healthy eating habits in your home. This will keep your kids become healthy and free from obesity.
Importance of Home Made Food:
65 per cent of American adults are overweight and 30 per cent are obese. Children only follow the footsteps of their parent. One of the reasons for this sorry state in our society is we do not eat home made food much. As the standard of living is high, we can afford to eat out often. It saves time, effort and the food is tasty as well. But the fact that is deliberately ignored is that these foods are of very low nutritional value.
Home made foods have high nutritional value as every care is taken to prepare them with fruits and vegetables in their best nutritional state. They are prepared with less oil and in the privacy of our homes. They are available to us exactly at the time when we feel hungry. Though advertisement agencies claim to deliver the food on time, delay in having the food can fill our stomach with gas. If it becomes a daily routine to eat outside, several health complications cannot be avoided. Obesity is one such complication.