Corporate Hoodwinking: Intentional Marketing Junk Food to Kids
The food, beverage, and chain restaurant industries say they’re on the side of health, but their actions show otherwise. They are targeting children with intensive junk food advertising.
Experts agree that junk food is a huge contributor to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and even strokes. And food and beverage companies spend billions of dollars promoting unhealthy foods virtually everywhere kids go. Unfortunately, the food industry and media companies are working to get Congress to stop anyone from implementing common sense recommendations and obvious solutions. Younger people are getting diseases that used to be reserved for adults.
Watch We’re Not Buying It, a video that exposes deceptive marketing to children, debunks industry claims, and highlights the latest research. When we put children first, the plan of action is clear: companies should market the foods that keep kids healthy, not sugary cereals and other junk food.
‘We’re Not Buying It’ Video:
Salt, Sugar and Fat: A Recipe for Addiction
Junk food can be appealing for a variety of reasons, including convenience, price and taste. For children, who do not always understand the health consequences of their eating habits, junk food may appear especially appetizing. However, regularly consuming fattening junk food can be addictive for children and lead to complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem and even depression, as well as affecting how they perform in school and extracurricular activities.
A study published in Pediatrics in 2004 found fast-food consumption in children was linked with many dangerous precursors for obesity. According to this study, kids who ate fast food were more likely to consume a higher amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and added sugars in one fast food meal. They were also less likely to consume as much fiber, fruits and vegetables as children who did not eat fast food. Children who consumed more fattening foods while eating fast food were also likely, in general, to eat more unhealthy foods at other meals.
According to a statement released by the journal Nature Neuroscience in 2010, high-calorie food can be addictive, causing children who occasionally eat fast food to learn problematic patterns of eating. These factors were found to place children who regularly ate fast food at increased risk for obesity.
According to the Prevention Institute, experts blame junk food for rising rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Increasing rates of chronic illness affect children who regularly consume junk food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts if current trends continue, one in three U.S. adults will have diabetes by the year 2050. Diabetes can result in disability and premature death. The Center for Food Safety noted in 2012 that obese children are also more likely to develop high cholesterol and heart disease later in life. According to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, changes can happen in children’s bodies even when they’re young that are associated with disease at a more advanced age.
Alternatives to Junk Food
There are all sorts of ways to give kids healthier treats and snacks instead of allowing commercial interests to win out. This does not mean your child has to be a social misfit or feel deprived. But it does require discipline and guidance from parents. The nutritional and lifestyle foundations laid down now will serve your child well later on in his or her life.
Watch the next post for suggestions on how to feed your child alternatives to too much sugar, salt and fat.
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