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Fast Food Advertising Is Making Your Children Obese

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You have probably known this for years but it still needs repetition. Fast food advertising is related to children becoming obese and now there is fresh scientific evidence to prove it. When you child gets familiar with the clown Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders, or any other fast food icon, he is taking baby steps towards an obese adulthood and only you can save your child from his dark future. For starters, don’t let them see those adverts. Read on for more...


1) The Risk of Fast Food Adverts


Recognizing brands such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC, or any other fast food chain is never the real intention of fast food advertising shown on Television. It is to make children crave those very fast foods that are being advertised. This is a risk not worth to be taken. When parents leave their children unattended in front of the TV sets, they are letting them be vulnerable to the fast food industry’s onslaught and once the kids are caught in the vicious cycle of obesity, thanks to constant munching up on burgers, hot dogs, fries, and chicken wings, there is no turning back. In case you were one of those parents, who always thought that fast food is nothing else but food, be forewarned that you may have been playing with the health of your children, as has been proven in a recent study.


2) The Study


A study has been conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests that youngsters who are familiar with fast food brands are twice as likely to be obese in comparison to those who cannot recognize as many fast food brands. Co-author of the study, James D. Sargent, MD, FAAP, has noted in the study that the reason behind this is not just the frequent visits to these restaurants but much more. He explains, “Individuals who are more familiar with these ads may have food consumption patterns that include many types of high-calorie food brands, or they may be especially sensitive to visual cues to eat while watching TV. More research is necessary to determine how fast-food ad familiarity is linked to obesity.”


3) The Sample


In the study, the researchers called participants from all over the country. These were a total of 3,342 youths aged between 15 and 23. These participants were shown still images (20 in all) from television ads for the leading fast food chains. The brands were removed and only the images were kept. The youths were asked whether they remember seeing the ad, liked it, and could name the brand. Participants were asked to share details of their weight, social background, TV viewing habits, and diets. They were also asked for details of how often they ate TV snacks of fast-food meals. The findings of the study have been presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Boston.


4) The Results


The results of the study are nothing less than alarming. The study found a strong association between familiarity with fast-food restaurants, their TV advertising and obesity among young Americans. Sample yourself:-

  1. The percentage of obese youths was significantly higher (17%) among those who could recognize more ads as compared to those who could recognize just a few ads (8.3%).
  2. 18% of the participants of the study were overweight while 15% were obese.


5) The Explanation


Dr Auden McClure, lead researcher of the study, said, “We know that children and adolescents are highly exposed to fast-food restaurant advertising, particularly on television. This study links obesity in young people to familiarity with this advertising, suggesting that youth who are aware of and receptive to televised fast-food marketing may be at risk for health consequences.”


Now since it has been proved that having children has no positive effect on parent’s dietary habits, this new study sets an even more alarming trend in food habits within a family. Therefore, it can’t be stressed enough that keeping children away from fast food TV adverts could be the first step towards helping them grow into healthy adults. Moreover, it will also  help you, as a parent, set the right example in healthy living. In case you need help to better understand this issue, watch this video:

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Fast Food Advertising Is Making Your Children Obese