Are TV ads making kids fat?

28 09 2006

That’s the title of an article at MSNBC.  I don’t disagree that they are a contributor to the problem of one-third of American children being either obese or at risk for becoming obese.  The article states that “American companies spend about $15 billion a year marketing and advertising to children under age 12”.  Why are they so aggressively targeting children?  Is it because so many parents give in to pressure from their children on what to buy?

The article also states that “the average child watches 2 to 4 hours of TV per day and views about 40,000 TV ads every year”.  40,000 TV ads a year?  That is not a small number!  Perhaps parents should restrict the amount of TV their children watch.  Also, it would be great if TV cut back on the amount of advertising that is shown.  More and more ads are shown per hour than in the past, and it gets annoying.  Sometimes it seems like you watch about as much ads as the programs you want to see.  But I know what’s going on — it’s all about the money.

I think advertisers should scale back on marketing directly to children.  But the ultimate responsibility here sits with the parents — they should make sure their kids are eating healthy and getting enough exercise.  But as usual these days, the article doesn’t put any responsibility on parents — just on companies.

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