Advertising and it’s effects on childhood obesity

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Advertisements promoted by cartoon channels have always influenced children a lot, and still continue to do so. This makes the young, easily excited children, to crave for extremely low nutritious and high-calorie food. But even the television channels cannot be blamed as they do not intend on ravaging the minds of these innocent children. Children just seem to like every advertisement aired on their preferred channels, and stay glued to them for hours together. The connection between childhood obesity and commercials on television is very strong, although it is subtle and not easily surfaced. Eating junk food, confectionery or fast food can lead to obesity in humans, and this is especially so in the case of children, to whom physical activities and healthy diet at early stages of life matters a lot. The majority of television advertisements are a combination of elements that the child craves for. The animations, the colors and the overall impact these elements create, are ample enough to stir up the desire in children, to lay their hands on those things at that exact time. Thus, they become victims of the allurement with which such images entice their innocent minds. Advertisements carry some peculiar traits as listed below that are capable of influencing children’s mind: 1) The advertisements have amazing and interesting sound and visual effects. 2) Most of them are dramatized and animated. 3) Some of the advertised products carry along with them an offer of free toys. 4) The ads introduce items in highly adorable, colorful packages with bright pictures Young children are easily hooked when a product is displayed with the endorsement of role models or cartoon characters that they literally worship. For children who are not keen about cartoons, there are advertisements that portray peers of their own age, which is something that no child can resist following. Children lack maturity in evaluating these conversations and voice-overs. Therefore, advertisements achieve success in their mission of penetrating children’s most basic desires. On the flipside, a child who has to grow strong with lots of physical activity gets relegated to the menial position of a couch potato and in the bargain compromises his or her potential for proper development and becomes obese. Considering the case of children that fall in the age group of 6-11, 22% of Mexican American kids are found to be overweight, 20% African American kids and 14% of non-Hispanic White kids also fall under the same category. The childhood obesity epidemic is a serious public health problem that increases morbidity, mortality, and has substantial long term economic and social costs. The rates of obesity in America’s children and youth have almost tripled in the last quarter century. Approximately 20% of our youth are now overweight with obesity rates in preschool age children increasing at alarming speed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled among children ages 2 to 5 (5.0% to 12.4%) and ages 6 to 11 (6.5% to 17.0%) (The impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity, 2011, Para.1). The aforesaid statistics subtly illustrate the impact of lack of adequate physical activity in children, which basically stems from the reality that instead of playing around, they stay glued to the TV screen, immersed in the display of colors and images, guided by hollow promises. The effects of advertisements on children have both