Food marketing to children is an area of growing concern because the food and beverage industry spends approximately $2 billion per year marketing to children and nearly all of the food advertisements viewed by children are for products that are high in fat, sugar or sodium. Research shows that marketing influences what children eat and drink and links the marketing of unhealthy products to overweight and obesity. Have you ever wondered why your child asks you to buy certain products over other ones? Most likely they have been exposed to marketing for that product. These food companies are very good at marketing to your child and have been doing it successfully for many years. Based on an extensive review of the research, the American Psychological Association concluded that until the age of about 8 years old children are unable to understand the persuasive intent of advertisements.
But what can parents do??
Be aware of the problem. Learn more about Food and Beverage Marketing to Children.
Here are some links:
Read a new issue brief from Bridging the Gap and the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.
-Check out the Prevention Institute’s webpage on Junk Food Marketing to Children.
-Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Handout: Food Marketing to Children.
-Check out The Don’t Buy It! website, created by PBS Kids to provide resources, lessons and activities for children in grades 3-5.
-Watch Weight of the Nation to learn more about food marketing & kids.
At school. Assess your child’s school and look for any product marketing. Talk to the pricipal or parent’s group about eliminating marketing, selling or giving away unhealthy foods or brands anywhere on school campuses.
At home. Parents stop buying junk food and encourage your child to be physical activity. Don’t always give in to requests for advertised products. Limit screen time and explain to children that companies are trying to convince them that they have to have these products, even when they’re not good for them.