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Responsible TV and Internet advertising needed to reduce childhood obesity

Thursday, April 14, 2011 by: Tracy Rose
Tags: childhood obesity, television advertising, health news

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(NaturalNews) Nearly one-forth of students are overweight or obese. Though junk food and fast food ads aren't completely to blame for childhood obesity, they do contribute to the overall problem.

The Impact of Banning Junk Food Ads Aimed at Kids
The Australian Medical Association has requested a ban on junk food ads targeted to kids. Dr. Andrew Pesce states that the ads directly affect the choice children and teens make as far as what they eat and what they drink. Broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, confirms that by restricting junk food ads on TV during hours children are most likely to be watching cuts back their ad views by 41%. Furthermore, a ban on junk food ads geared towards children could reduce child obesity by 18%.

Unhealthy Ads Aren't Limited Junk to TV Commercials
Fewer TV ads doesn't necessarily mean less exposure, however. Internet ads, magazine ads and in-school marketing also contribute to the high fat, high sugar food ads kids see on a regular basis. Website of interest to kids and teens often post ads for candy, sugary cereals, unhealthy breakfast options and fast food. The Berkley Media Studies Group in California found that of the 77 foods advertised, only 5 were actually healthy options.

Advertisers Counting on Gullible Kids to View Ads, click Links and Buy Products
Advertisers know that children are likely to click links on the internet. They are especially drawn in when a freebie, like a free download, is offered for clicking on the link. According to her research paper, :Marketing Obesity? Junk Food Advertising and Kids." Dr. Rhonda Jolly says "marketing on the Internet employs a variety of techniques to appeal including advertorials, competitions, video links, product discussion and advergames."

The Future of Junk Food Advertising to Children
While the World Health Organization has urged countries to restrict junk food marketing to kids, there is a need for responsible advertising. The Federal Trade Commission has also suggested that the media limits ads featuring licensed characters to healthy foods. Clear standards need to be developed and enforced, not only for TV ads, but also for Internet ads and other means of attracting kids to unhealthy food options.

The bottom line is that until such action is taken, it is up to parents and educators to help children recognize marketing ads and tactics. We need to teach kids to reach them as junk mail and not pay any attention to them. Children may be bombarded with ads for fast food and junk food everyday, but they don't need to buy into it.

Sources:

http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/rp/2010-1...

http://cfpnyc.com/search/fast-food-advertisi...

http://childrenshospitalblog.org/should-i-wo...

http://www.thatsfit.com/2009/12/16/kids-bomb...

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/29/bu...

http://childhoodobesitynews.com/2010/08/03/a...

http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2007/9...



About the author

Tracy Rose is a freelance writer with a Bachelor's Degree in Written Communication. She is the feature writer for weight loss at http://www.suite101.com/weightloss. She is passionate about natural weight loss and achieving better overall health. Read about her personal weight loss story at http://weightliftingtoloseweight.blogspot.co....

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