How Media Drives Obesity in children and simple combat tactics


One of the most important indicators of the state of health of Americans today can be an ever increasing rate of overweight and obese children. The Institute of Medicine has found that one third of American children are either obese or at risk of obesity. The Center of Disease Control has found that, since 1980, the proportion of overweight children aged 6-11 has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the rise in childhood obesity represents and unprecedented burden on children’s health. “If we do not deal with children, this may be the first generation that will live sicker and die younger than her parents,” says Dr. James S. Marks, senior vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which recently announced an unprecedented effort to reverse childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

Obesity or overweight is not only detrimental effect on self-esteem and mental health of young people in a society that places so much emphasis on thinness, but there are serious physical health considerations as well. According to Dr. Melissa A. cold, Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine / Pediatrics, overweight children put a premature health risks such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even poor behavior in school like inattentiveness, disruptiveness,, missed and low grade scores

Some of those environmental factors thought to contribute to obesity are :. the consumption of fast food, simple carbohydrates, soda or other high-calorie, high-fat foods, larger and larger portion sizes; lack of exercise and / or more sedentary; the consumption of whole foods, fruits and vegetables. But what may be underlying all these factors or at least increase the issue is children and media.


According the Task Force on Media and obesity Federal Communications Commission, today’s children spend many hours every day watching TV and are influenced by programming and advertising they see.

The Kaiser Family Foundation says that young children can not distinguish between the content programming and advertising.

The US Congress, Television Children’s Act 1990 reports, by the time the average child is 18 years hold, he or she has spent between 10,000 and 15,000 hours watching TV and have been exposed to more than 200,000 advertising .

When the study documents that obesity in children increases the more hours they watch television. (Crespo, 2001)

Other research studies show that children who watch more than three and our television a day are 50 percent more likely to be obese than children who watch less than two hours. (Tremblay, 2003)

Another scientist said that children who use a lot of media have a lower activity level that is associated with a higher rate of obesity (Vandewater, 2004)

According to the 2004 report “The role of media in obesity “by the Kaiser Family Foundation,” in the same period that obesity has increased so dramatically, there has also been an explosion in the media based on the children, TV shows and videos, specialized cable networks, video games, computer activities and Internet Web sites. ” And “a lot of media targeted to children is laden with elaborate advertising campaigns, many of which promote foods such as candy, soda and snacks.”

The Advertising Coalition says that $ 10- $ 15 billion is spent annually on food advertising Kids.

One study documented approximately 11 advertising food per hour on Saturday morning television children, food an average child watches may be one food commercial every 5 minutes (Kotz, 1994)

Another study showed that food choices children were considerable impact on what ads they saw, ie either ad for fruits or advertisement for the candy (Gorn, 1982)

Other researchers found that for every hour of television viewed per day, daily servings of fruits and vegetables decreased among adolescents possibly due to television advertising (Boynton-Jarrett R, 2003)

Although many scientists and research are still emerging role of media in childhood obesity and overweight issues (direct link between advertising and obesity has not been public established) , advertisers certainly know that television advertising can influence consumer choices for children and family. For example, fast-alone spend $ 3 billion in TV advertising targeted to children. And according to the “advertising, marketing and media: Promotion message from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, food and beverage advertisers spend a collective $ 10000000000 to $ 12 billion annually to reach children and adolescents

So , what is a parent to do to counteract unhealthy advertising and big dollars behind them, here are some tips to help children stay healthy and fit

First, educate them on the elements contribute to being overweight or obese :.

1 too much “fat food” (fast food, simple carbohydrates, soda, energy drinks, cereals, etc.)

2. Larger than life portion sizes

3. Not enough movement or motion

4. Not enough Whole Foods (fruits, vegetables, whole wheat bread, whole grains, etc.).

Second, to reduce poor food choices at home. Refusing to buy soda and sugar cereal or require that these only indulged in by healthy meal.

Third, the whole food choices easy for them to prepare (ie, pre-washed, cut up fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, smoothies, whole wheat bread, pre-cooked, healthy snacks / meals as cubed chicken breast band cheese, hard-boiled egg, a single serving size containers Make it tasty and easy (see green smoothie recipe below.)

Fourth, to encourage them to take advantage of (ie refuse to drive them to school ,. sign them up for sports; play with them there, .. get a dog and go daily walks) it fun

Fifth limit television hours per day. And teach them how they can turn off ads or “Tevoda” shows and fast forward through commercials.

And finally, to teach them to be fit and healthy means eating healthy foods and exercising, in direct contrast to how television and advertising display super skinny people eating chips and drinking soda, it’s just not true. and educate them that advertisers make money by playing beautiful people eat junk food.

EASY, YUMMY recipe for “green smoothies”

Give the kids a great dose of Fresh, Raw servings of fruits and vegetables

(shhhhh, tastes so good, kids will not even know that there’s spinach in it!)

1. Put 2 cups water in a blender

2. Add a few handfuls of spinach or kale or chard, mix until smooth

3. Add fruit, banana 1-2 and 1-2 C frozen blueberries or mixed berries or fruit etc.

4. If you must, add a small amount of sweetener of choice.

5. Smoothie will be purple and yummy and you’d never know it was healthy green hiding in the mix, ENJOY!

(going green smoothie of soda! Children who drink only one soda a day are 60 percent more likely to become obese, according to the 2001 study, Harvard University and Boston Children’s Hospital.)


Boynton-Jarret, R, et al, (2003) The effect of television Patt Erna fruit and vegetable consumption among adolescents, Pediatrics 112 (2003) 6 : 1321-1326

Crespo, Carlos J. et al, (2001), television, energy intake and obesity in US children, Archives of children and adolescents Medicine, 155, 360-365

eating habits infants and children, affecting the health and performance. Health Link Medical College of Wisconsin.

Federal Communications Commission: Task Force on Media and Childhood Obesity.

Gorn, G, et al, Behavioral Evidence of Effect of Food televised message to the children, Journal of Consumer Research 9 (1982): 200-205

Kotz, K. et al, (1994), Food Advertising on children’s Saturday morning television: Are they consistent with dietary recommendations “Journal of American Dietic Association 94 (1994) 11: 1296-1300

National Institute on Media and family: Media Use and obesity among children.

Tremblay, MS et al, (2003), the Canadian child obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity? International Journal of Obesity, 27, 1100-1105

the role of media in obesity: This Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief review of more than 40 studies on the role of media in significantly increasing rates of childhood obesity country explores what scientists do and do not the role media plays in childhood obesity. It also describes the media related policy options that have been proposed to help address childhood

USNews article “obesity epidemic a Long-Term Challenge”


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