Some leading pediatricians call for a ban on some junk food commercials, claiming that 98% of food commercials during the most popular children’s shows advertise junk food.
Weight Gain and the Media
A HealthDay News article posted on Health.com said that many doctors are concerned about the effect of these ads on the rising obesity trend. The article explains:
In a policy statement published in the July issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also asks Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate junk food and fast food ads on cell phones and other media, as well as to prohibit companies that make such products from paying to have their products featured in movies.
The encouragement to eat unhealthy food is made even worse by the fact that children are sedentary in front of the TV while seeing/eating it. With new statements saying that children spend about 7 hours a day engaged in some sort of media, experts say that kids thus spend more time snacking and less time running, playing outside or otherwise exercising.
Obesity among kids and adolescents has nearly tripled since 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicates that now, about 17% of Americans age 2-19 are obese. This equals about 12.5 million people. Excessive movie- and TV-watching are noted contributors, especially if the child has a TV in his or her bedroom.
It seems that one of the main points these pediatricians are trying to make is that you never see fun commercials for vegetables, and even most children’s TV shows portray vegetables and other healthy eating in a negative light. If all they see is how cool it is to eat fattening food that has no nutritional benefit, it’s creating that value in their heads. If high-sugar, high-fat foods are constantly portrayed by the popular kids on TV as delicious, desirable and perfectly normal, than why expect anything different? There’s nothing wrong with eating a cookie here and there, but if it’s not balanced with healthy food and exercise, the obesity problem will only get worse. Researchers encourage parents to become more involved in making sure their children have a nutritious diet and are consistently getting enough exercise to stay healthy and active.