In recent years, there has been a lot of talk from many of the fast food giants promoting ad campaigns that state they are using “better, healthier” ingredients. A recent report by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that the reality is, these menus are not getting any healthier, their marketing tactics have just changed.
The report’s co-author, Helen Wu, remarked, “Consumers need to be aware that when they step into a restaurant, they are playing a high-stakes game with their health by making dietary choices from menus that are loaded with high-calorie, high-sodium options.”
Along with this dismal report, the fast food industry has used their marketing ploys to exploit our children. Food and beverage companies spend billions of dollars promoting unhealthy foods virtually everywhere kids go.
They are bombarded with thousands of ads that appear not only on television, but as mobile ads, online adver-games, fast food sponsored school curriculum and equipment, and more.
Instead of begging these big corporations to transform the amount of sugar, fat and salt as well as the wide range of chemicals and other toxins used in these highly processed junk foods, we need to demand that the industry stop targeting our kids.
Here is a look at just some of the facts:
- The fast food industry spends over $5 million every single day and about $2 billion annually marketing unhealthy foods to kids.
- Kids watch an average of over 4,000 food and beverage-related ads every year.
- Nearly all food advertisements, a whopping 98 percent, are viewed by children that are for foods that are high in fat, sugar or sodium.
- The dedicated marketing effort by these corporations is working. About 40% of a child’s diet comes from sugars and unhealthy fats and less than 1 in 5 kids aged 6 through 19 get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Every day, one-third of American children eat fast food; it should come as no surprise that 1 in 3 are now considered overweight and nearly 1 in 5 are obese, triple the rate just one generation ago.
- Overweight and obese kids are at risk for developing all types of serious health issues that can affect their present and future health as well as their quality of life, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, liver disease, depression and much more.
- Diabetes, obesity and elevated blood pressure were conditions that generally emerged later in life, but today, more and more young children are developing these serious, chronic conditions that are likely to take a great toll on their health.
Isn’t it time to stand up to these big food companies and protect the health of our children? Marketing to kids is inherently deceptive and extremely harmful. We need to demand that corporations stop engaging in this unethical behavior and parents need to just say “no” to the burger, fries, sugary drink and cheap little toy.
-The Alternative Daily