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Commercials Making Kids Fat?

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Do you know what your kids are watching?


Given our children's LOVE of sugary products, this issue piqued our interest: Due to the rising childhood obesity rates in the U.S., the FTC released a report in the NY Times detailing the strong influence of food marketing on kids.  Of course, the major food companies responded with reports of their own to show that they are attempting to reduce the childhood obesity crisis by only promoting "better-for-you products" in their ads aimed at kids. (For instance, they say they are no longer marketing Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, Pop-Tarts, and Bubblelicious to kids.) But who's right?

Momlogic friend and registered dietitian Diane Henderiks gives us her thoughts on how these marketing companies are targeting our children:

"The funny thing is that the product manufacturers themselves are the ones who determine what 'better-for-you' is. It's called 'self-regulation' which is just what it says -- regulation for the benefit of self! Do you think these companies are going to sacrifice their profits for the sake of our children? I think not!

"Our children are bombarded on a daily basis by luring ads and marketing strategies that encourage them to whine and plead for unhealthy foods. 'Look mom it's Sponge Bob,' 'I want the cereal with Scooby Doo on it.' Sound familiar? This is not going to change, so what we need to do as parents is take the animated bull by the horns.

"I have taught my boys from day one that their favorite character is on packaging, fast-food restaurant windows, in a 'kids meal' or anywhere else just to get you to buy the product. By the time they were about 4 years old, they 'got it.' They still want junk food but understand that it isn't the best choice -- so it's always in moderation. We all know it's not easy to get kids to eat healthy, but you can't give up."

Here are Diane's suggestions for getting your kids to eat healthy:

1. Teach your kids about nutrition from a very early age. Even though you think they don't understand, they do and it sinks in.

2. Parents must be role models and involve children in meal-planning and grocery shopping. This helps them learn about different foods and gives them a role in the decision-making.

3. Make it fun! Get the kids in the kitchen whenever possible. Ask them what they like and talk about specific foods that are good or not-so-good for them.

4. Keep healthy snacks on hand in proper portions. Good options include fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk, smoothies, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, frozen fruit juice bars, whole grain crackers, etc.

5. Limit time at the computer, watching television or playing video games. Try using a kitchen timer and when 20 minutes is up, it's time to go outside!

6. Be persistent, but not insistent, in healthy food offerings.

Read more food stories.

next: 8 Days without Kids
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous August 2, 2008, 12:41 PM

Ya gotta love the little porker in the picture.

Lesa August 4, 2008, 8:55 AM

They’ve been targeting kids with these fattening food advertiements for as long as I can remember. It’s the parents’ fault for buying it.

I think it has to do with the lack of exercise and there are a number of activities that cut exercise right out of kids’ lifestyles. (I am not against any of 1-4 BTW)
1. TV
2. Video Games
3. Internet
4. Cell phones (think about it)
THIS I am against:
4. Schools have cut back on “free time” and gym time both of which gave the children good exercise.

Parents need to make good food choices. They need to explain to their children what benefit they will get from each good food item. And also explain how certain other “foods” are bad for them when the child wants it.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with having a soda, a cookie (or two), or a handful of chips a few times a week. But most kids sit down and chow down on the whole bag. They will drink 20 flippin’ ounces of soda. They end up being a burping, farting, lazy fat kid all because the parent isn’t doing a good job.

Don’t buy crap for your kid to eat and do get him or her active again!! If they like video games, let them play but offset that by MAKING them join an organized sports team or some kind of organized physical activity. Remind your kid that they are getting to play video games and if they want that to continue they WILL offset it with physical activity in one form or another. Same with TV or the internet. Same with the cellphone. Remind the kid that if they like these luxuries they will HAVE to be active as well as eating their fruits and vegetables.

Anonymous January 24, 2009, 3:53 AM

Ya the food does make them fat. But it’s the parents’ fault for buying it for their child. Ads dont make the children fat, it is their parents!

Griechenland Last Minute November 29, 2010, 11:30 AM

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