Food marketing to children leads to obesity

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.

Prevent Childhood Obesity with 60 Minutes of Play

One way to help prevent childhood obesity is to make sure that kids stay physically active. Children need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Most schools don’t offer daily PE and if there aren’t places for safe, free activity in the neighborhood, then reaching that 60 minute mark each day can be hard.

We all know that daily physical activity can also take a back seat to electronic gadgets, computers and television. But, there are resources out there to help you get your kids up and moving.
Physical Activity and Play
•Walk/Bike to School: to find out what your school can do visit our Safe Routes To School webpage.
•Limit Screen Time:  children should only have1-2 hours of screen time each day.
•Make Physical Activity a Family Affair: check out these 10 tips to get your family active and parent tips from WeCan.
Places to Play: find a park near your neighborhood.
Neon to Nature: is a great online tool to find trails in Southern Nevada so you can get out and explore.
•Bedtime matters: make sure your kids are getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to increased obesity and a poor academic performance. To find out how much sleep your kiddos need and more about the benefits, visit the National Sleep Foundation’s  website.

Prevent Childhood Obesity– Rethink your Drink

Helping kids build healthy eating habits is one way to prevent obesity and help children grow up healthy. A simple way to prevent childhood obesity or even lose weight is to focus on changing your beverage choices. What you drink is as important as what you eat. Many beverages contain added sugars and offer little or no nutrients, while others may provide nutrients but too much fat and too many calories. Many adults and children take in about 400 calories per day as beverages—That is a lot of calories!

Drinking soda or other surgary drinks, as with most habits, can be hard to break. Soda was once considered an occasional treat, but consumption has steadily increased over the last three decades. Drinking too much soda could have health consequences ranging from weight gain to osteoporosis to kidney problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. Commit to reducing or eliminating your soda consumption! Here are some tips for Weaning Your family Off Sugary Drinks

-Talk to your child and help them understand why so much sugar is not really good for their diet. Show them by using packets of sugar, how much sugar is in a typical sugary drink. They might be surprised.

-You can begin by cutting the juice they drink by 1/4 water and 3/4s juice. Slowly increase the amount of water and they will get used to having juice with less sugar.

-Make water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or 100% juice an easy option in your home. Have ready-to-go containers filled with water or healthy drinks available in the refrigerator. Place them in lunch boxes or backpacks for easy access when kids are away from home. Depending on age, children can drink ½ to 1cup, and adults can drink up to 1 cup of 100% fruit or vegetable juice* each day.
*100% juice is part of the Fruit or Vegetable Group. Juice should make up half or less of total recommended fruit or vegetable intake.

If your child is a heavy soda drinker (or sugary beverage like sports drinks) you may have to start with small goals. Limit soda to once a day and then gradually decrease until they are once a week. Continue until you have eliminated the soda or sugary beverage from their daily routine.
To learn more ways to prevent childhood obesity check out our spotlight.

5 meals under 500 calories…Del Taco

Del Taco

Meal One
Quesadilla Kids Meal-280
Kids Fries-150
Kids Light Lemonade-10
Total Calories-440

Meal Two
Bean & Cheese Burrito Kids Meal-320
Kids Fries-150
Kids Tea-0
Total Calories-470

Meal Three
3 Classic Tacos-390
Small Light Lemonade-10
Total Calories-400

Meal Four
2 Grilled Chicken Tacos-440
Small Diet Coke-0
Total Calories-440

Meal Five
Del Combo Burrito-475
Small Diet Coke-0
Total Calories-475

Childhood Obesity Prevention Resources

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Childhood obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago.
Childhood obesity puts our children at early risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke – conditions that are usually associated with adulthood.

Together we can turn this epidemic around. Each week this month, we’ll provide you with resources and information that you can use to help your children and the children you work with to live healthier and happier lives.

There are many resources that can help you address obesity and childhood obesity.

General Resources

•CDC: If you’re interested in learning more about childhood obesity, what causes it and how you can determine if your child is at risk, visit the CDC’s childhood obesity webpage.

Kids Eat Right:  As a parent or caretaker you need reliable resources and you can find them here, backed by the expertise of nutrition professionals.

Children’s Heart Center: The Children’s Heart Center has lots of resources to help you and your child eat better and be more active.


Children and Eating Out: Get tips to help you make healthy choices for your child when you eat out.
How to Choose Healthier Options: Here are tips for adults to help them make healthy choices when dining out.

Child Care Providers

Color Me Healthy: Color Me Healthy is a program developed to teach preschoolers about physical activity and healthy eating with fun, interactive lessons.
Child Care Policy: We have developed a model nutrition and physical activity policy that child care centers can use to create their own policy.