A steep increase in the child obesity rate have become a topic of major concern through out the world. The surveys conducted in the previous year has concluded that nearly 20% of the school going children are the victims of child obesity and are more likely to suffer from several health problems due to this child obesity in the near future. Pickwickian syndrome, Sleep apnea, Osteoarthritis, Gout and gouty arthritis, Gallstones, Cancer, Congestive heart failure, Heart attack, Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA), High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), High blood pressure (hypertension), Type II (adult-onset diabetes), Insulin Resistance, etc. are some of the health problems caused by child obesity. And also obese kids are more likely to turn out into obese adults.
What is the role of food marketing in causing obesity among children?
The unhealthy food habits and less physical activities are the major culprits behind this steep rise in the child obesity rates. Heredity is also responsible in some cases.
Food marketing plays a major role in inculcating unhealthy food habits in the children. Therefore food marketing is considered as one of the factors that are responsible for child obesity. The following points explain very clearly how food marketing is responsible for children.
One of the best tactics in the field of food marketing is promoting advertisements. These ads mainly target children who cannot judge the right and wrongs. Children insist their parents to get them products that are endorsed by their favorite actors and actresses. Hence these ads have got the capacity to manipulate the food choices of the kids.
These ads also rope in the famous actors and actresses to endorse their products.
A survey has sown that most of the food companies spend a huge amount of money only on advertisements is the best way of marketing foods.
And also these ads are shown repetitively during the children’s watching hours. The food ads like candies constitute 32% of the ads that are meant to target the kids. Where as cereals constitute up to 31%.
Nearly $3billions are spent every year only on ads by the fast food centers. These ads also mostly target children. These fast food outlets lure the kids by promising them to gift them with toys every time they buy some thing. One such famous example is Mc Donald’s. All these foods that are promoted through the ads are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories which can easily make a child obese.
Some outlets have gone ahead and are allowing children to play games freely on their web sires. One such example is candystand.
Another tactic of food marketing is selling the food items in the premises of the school or in the nearby canteens. Nearly 94% of the schools, 84% of the middle schools and 58% of the primary schools allow the sales of these food items. Few of the food products that are sold this way are the candies, chips, toffees, soda and other aerated drinks, etc. Children binge on these food during the free hours and lunch breaks. Having an aerated drink and a packet of chips every day is enough to make a kid obese in no time.
What should be done to stop the prevalence of the child obesity?
The following measures should be taken in order to stop obesity from affecting the kids.
Promotion of the ads of the unhealthy foods should be strictly banned. Kids will have less exposure to these unhealthy foods this way. Even if they are allowed these ads should not be shown continuously.
Schools must not allow the sales of the unhealthy food to prevent their kids from getting obese.
Special classes should be conducted to teach these kids about the ill effects of the unhealthy foods and obesity. The value of the nutrition present in the organic foods must also be taught.
Number of the fast food outlets should be reduced in the nation. These places should be regularly checked for the quality of the food they are providing. Outlets providing food which is rich in calories and sugar should be banned immediately.
Action must be taken against the outlets that are luring the kids with toys and other attractants. Marketing food to children leads to obesity.