Does Advertising Unhealthy Food to Children in America Cause Obesity?

2111 Words Aug 8th, 2012 9 Pages
Does Advertising Unhealthy Food to Children in America Cause Obesity?

Executive Summary

Since the 1970’s the United States has been witness to a growing epidemic of childhood obesity tripling and in some instances quadrupling. Due to this major health concern it is believed that the advertising of unhealthy foods is the cause of childhood obesity in America. Majority of the advertising is done via television, which promotes fast food or “junk food” and is usually low in nutrition and high in sugar and sodium. The Federal Trade Commission, Institute of Medicine, and various health interest groups understand the issue at hand, and have considered taking preventive measures to stop this problem. Understanding the
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Advertising agencies, the government, and parents as well, all play a role in this nationwide epidemic. In the conclusion of this paper we will summarize why the business of advertising and parents all have a hand in stopping the problem of childhood obesity within America.

Derochers and Holt (2007) noted that in the late 1970’s, that three major networks ABC, CBS, and NBC were the main networks in television broadcasting (p. 2). However, over the years the media industry has evolved, in the early 2000’s new cable networks were developed specifically for children. Derochers and Holt (2007) states that more than “80% of families with televisions had cable network service by 2004” (p. 2). Also, according to Derochers and Holt (2007) “television programming since 1977 has shifted from having three networks to serving broad audiences to numerous networks providing many more program choices, smaller audiences from those program, and more specialized programming that appeals to narrower segments, including children” (p. 2). Some of the other changes that have happen over the years, is the amount of money that advertisers spend on television ads. In 2008 Warren, Wicks, LeBlanc Wicks, Fosu, and Chung concluded that the total spending percentage of unhealthy food ads “from 1995 to 1999 and from 2002 to 2005” increased excessively (p. 2). In addition to the amount of spending that these companies did, Mello (2010) says that “Fifty-three percent of all youth marketing

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