The Impact of Television Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a growing problem around the world, especially in the United State that is notably harmful as its effects are not only temporary but can have long term effects that can be taken into adulthood. Children’s food preferences are influenced by television advertising that focuses directly at children. It is furthermore concluded that children exposed to high amounts of television advertisements make poor food choices which leads to poor food consumption. Among other factors, parental influence is also critical and can change a child’s behavior towards food advertisement and food choices. ...view middle of the document...
Children today watch a lot of television and are exposed to unhealthy food advertisements almost daily, if not even many hours a day. Those television ads are made especially for children to persuade them to buy that product. Children in younger ages do not know what is good for them so they are easily persuaded and create preferences which might lead them to dislike healthier food choices, as those are rarely advertised on television for children (Bacardi-Gascon & Gimenez, 2015).
According to Bacardi-Garcon and Jimenez-Cruz (2015) obesity is a universal disease causing nearly 3.4 million deaths annually. Research has shown that obesity among children is drastically increasing over the years in the United States (Hyunjae, 2011). As stated by Harvey in the past thirty years, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. The rates in children aged six to eleven has increased from 7 to 20 percent, and aged twelve to nineteen years has increased from 5 to 18 percent (2013). Furthermore, at present, the National Center for Health Statistics have shown that obesity among children has increased five times compared to the rate of the 1970s. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period (2012).
The National Center for Health Statistics states that in 2012, approximately 12.7 million children and adolescents are obese, which are the results of too many calories consumed and too little calories burnt. Although obesity can also be affected genetically, in most cases it is influenced by behavioral and environmental factors (2012). Studies have shown that children have an excessive intake of dietary fats and sugar, and don’t consume the amount of micronutrients they should to stay healthy, which can lead to a fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, and a bunch of other diseases have negative effects on their health (Harvey, 2013). Obesity can also have negative effects on children’s emotions, leading them to have a negative body image, low self esteem and even depression (Bacardi-Garcon and Jimenez-Cruz (2015).
Furthermore, childhood obesity can have long-term effects including health problems and a 70 percent chance of being overweight or obese as adults, which can additionally lead to an increased risk of cancer, osteoarthritis and strokes, which on the other hand can lead to premature death (Harvey, 2013). Giving all these horrible consequences of childhood obesity, according to Hyunjae (2011), researchers have analyzed several factors that lead to unhealthy eating habits linked to obesity which are: deep seated preferences, adult behavior, parental food beliefs, siblings and peers, parents’ behavior, and the increased exposure to television snack and fast food advertising. As stated by Harvey (2013), child obesity is the number one health concern in...