How Fast Food Advertising Influences Children: Does It Affect Obesity Rates among Children?
Childhood obesity is a cause of major concern in modern times. When it comes to this problem, diet and lifestyle issues are key factors, such as excessive intake of fast food. Hence, it’s not surprising that the consumption of fast food advertisements is linked to the likelihood of obesity in children. The strength of this influence is alarming and requires a closer look.
Fast food is detrimental to health when consumed in large amounts due to an excess of saturated fat, cholesterol, and other harmful substances. However, this type of food remains popular, especially among children, due to the attractive taste of ingredients like fat and salt. Companies capitalize on this addictive quality of their products through strong branding and advertising, which in turn brings in more consumers.
According to research, the impact of advertisements is linked directly to the sheer amount of time spent viewing displays (Chou et al. 20). This means that the longer the child spends watching television, the more likely they are to be exposed to a plethora of similar, attractive advertisements from various brands.
The impact of advertisements is especially evident and visible in children who have an above average body mass index (Andreyeva, Tatiana et al. 1). Brand advertisements on television entice a target audience that is vulnerable to the negative impacts of their products.
The current research makes it clear that there is some truth to the negative impacts of fast food advertisement on children. It is a sign that action needs to be taken imminently concerning such displays on TV in order to combat the widespread problem of childhood obesity.
Andreyeva, Tatiana, et al. “Exposure to Food Advertising On Television: Associations with Children’s Fast Food and Soft Drink Consumption and Obesity.” 2011, doi:10.3386/w16858.
Chou, Shin-Yi, et al. “Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity.” NBER WORKING PAPER SERIES, 2005, doi:10.3386/w11879