February 24, 2004

It's Not Your Fault!

Uh huh.

Researcher link obesity - yes, obesity - to advertising. I think I spoke too soon about the Death of Personal Responsibility by just giving that to one post. Pile this one in.
WASHINGTON - Thousands of advertisements for candy and sugary foods help fuel the epidemic of childhood obesity in America, a pair of new studies asserts.

The Kaiser Family Foundation said in a study released Tuesday that the main mechanism through which the media contributes to childhood obesity is through billions of dollars worth of advertising.

"The number of ads children see on TV has doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 since the 1970s, and the majority of ads targeted to kids are for candy, cereal and fast food," the Foundation said.

It reported that 15.3 percent of children aged six to 11 were listed as overweight in 1999-2000, compared to 4.2 percent in 1963-1970.
So, anyone figure in the food that was on-hand in the house for these kids to eat? No. Overweight/obese parents with bad eating habits? Not figured in. Is it winter and your slope's made of metal (and quite profound at a 40 degree angle), and all you need is the water hose?

Yes, pilgrim, it is, and you do.
The American Psychological Association on Monday called for the government to restrict ads aimed at children under 8.
Dr. Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist who was a co-author of the APA report, said actions "could include specific restrictions on advertising junk food or toys that promote violence or precocious sexuality."

"Given the developmental vulnerabilities young children have to advertising, however, a prohibition on all marketing aimed at children is the only truly effective solution," said Linn.
Hey, I got it, since we're talking about TV - how about families monitoring/limiting that? And it look as though children are going to have another "important" age. 8. Before, we had 13 - becoming a teenager. 16 - can be licensed to drive a car. 17 - can get into R-rated movies, 18, no longer a teenager/eligible to vote, and 21 - buy-it-yourself alcohol indulgence.

Would a law stop children from viewing advertisements for products for which they will develop foodlust? Uh, no.

Can't you people go study cancer or how to prevent divorce or something? Shoo - shoo. You can't fix people, certainly not by legislation; they have to fix themselves.


And just a few moments after I finished this, another related article presented itself. Check this out - TV and Eating Meals Out - they're in collusion to fatify children. That's right, they're collectively a cage into which your child may be trapped. They're "working together."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Excessive television watching and fat-laden fast food menus are working together to make U.S. children fatter and fatter, two separate reports said on Tuesday.

The reports by non-profit groups, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, were issued a day after the American Psychological Association published a new policy recommending legal limits on advertising aimed at children.
You know what's funny - this APPLIES TO THE POPULATION AS A WHOLE, no? Sorry for the shouting.

What I do agree with? The CSPI, surprisingly. This is dead on the money.
The CSPI, which publishes frequent reports on the fat and calorie content of popular foods, criticized kid's menus at restaurants that feature deep-fried foods, sugary drinks and calorie-laden desserts.
This sister article also mentions that the study doesn't trade time in front of the TV for time that could be spent exercising, choosing rather to lay the blame entirely on advertising. Well, last I checked, time not in front of the TV (like, y'know, exercise) means fewer minutes/hours said studied child or children is not exposed to the advertising. I'm scratching my head here.

Doesn't this all boil down to parents teaching their children such basics as nutrition and a balanced life? No, wait, that's the GOVERNMENT'S job. I'm sorry; I forgot.


Posted by hln at February 24, 2004 12:12 PM | Health | TrackBack

The telly made me do it.

Posted by: hans at February 24, 2004 07:56 PM

You're right of course: Parents should take responsibility.

But should the ads be there? Are they healthy? If they are there, that means they work (because advertisers wouldn't pay for them if they didn't).

Should we allow ads for cigarettes? Should we allow porn on TV? Where do we draw the line.

I don't think the issue is so simple.

Posted by: Bob W at February 25, 2004 12:32 PM

Yah, Bob, it is that simple.

What I do not want my children to watch, they do not watch. Period.

What they see advertised is really irrelevant because as the parent I purchase what they eat.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at February 25, 2004 12:45 PM

Well, you know, once advertisements are outlawed, only outlaws will have advertisements.

Posted by: Tony at February 25, 2004 06:59 PM