Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C.

Media and Childhood Obesity

Is there a connection between advertising to kids and the childhood obesity epidemic? The American Psychological Association thinks there is, stating, “Research has found strong associations between increases in advertising for non-nutritious foods and rates of childhood obesity.”

From the view of a concerned mother and educator, I would have to agree. With childhood obesity raising at alarming rates, it is not really news that we need to take a hard look at our habits and make some big changes. But I’m not sure we’re looking in all the right spots just yet, at least not enough. Advertising junk food to children is something I think we need to take a much stronger stand on. Children are just too vulnerable and swayed by these powerful messages and slick packaging, and it is unconscionable that we allow it.
Yes, there is a place for parental guidance, for limiting screen time (please, limit screen time!), for modeling healthy choices and all that. But those actions can’t possibly completely mitigate the onslaught of what is flying at us from media and advertising on a daily basis. At some point, the producers of these messages really need to be held accountable, step up, and do the right thing in what and how they advertise.

In the meantime (because, really, it’s not stopping anytime soon), what are you going to do about teaching healthy choices in your own homes and schools?