TV ads and overeating

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: March 29th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

We’ve been warned about the potential link between T-V programs and violent behavior or poor school performance. But new research finds that T-V advertisements for food and beverages directed at children can cause overeating and poor food choices, leading to obesity and diabetes.

A report issued by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine says that exposure to television ads is associated with obesity.

Researchers found that most edible products marketed to children on T-V are high in calories, sugar, salt and fat… and low in nutrients. The institute is calling on food and beverage manufacturers and restaurants to “change their channel,” so to speak, and sell healthier products. They identified many popular cartoon characters employed to promote these products, and say they should instead be used to help sell healthier items and encourage better dietary practices.

The institute reports that in 2004 nearly five-hundred-billion-dollars worth of products were marketed toward children. That’s a seventy percent increase from ten years ago. This includes a vast array of new food goods that are mostly not good for your health.

All these findings come with a large spoonful of criticism from the advertising industry and grocery manufacturers who claim that they’ve been steadily improving the healthfulness of their products and promoting programs that teach good eating and exercise habits.

Ultimately, curbing the childhood obesity epidemic includes avoiding junky foods. So when the next commercial break rolls around, encourage your kids to make a break of their own… for the fruit bowl.