Marketing Processed Food to Children is a Threat to their Lifelong Health

The ‘western diet’ consists of overly processed and chemically enhanced foods which are damaging our health. In class we discussed marketing tactics which food and drug companies to give the illusion of good health. For this blog post I’d like to focus on the junk food marketing directed at children. Most of the food marketing in the US is geared towards children. This embeds the idea that food like cheez-its, lunchables, french fries, etc. are real food which will give you actual substance. This is not the case, which most adults can understand, but children raised on this thought will continue to mainly eat processed foods into their adult life.

Everyone knows childhood obesity is on the rise, along with health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease (CVD), which were previously only seen in adults. This health issue has a strong correlation the shift in diet of the average American. A high percentage of schools now have contracts with fast food companies that will serve their food during the school lunches (Papa Johns/Coca-Cola/McDonald’s). This presence of fast food in school only further instills these poor eating habits in children, which will more than likely follow them to adulthood. Companies specifically target children for this reason, to get children addicted to their product and be lifetime customers. The most classic example of this marketing tactic is Ronald McDonald and happy meals. This encourages children to eat food that has been proven to worsen your health.

Even when some people try to be healthy, many are still buying junk food. Marketing plays a large role in masking unhealthy food as healthy. Many granola bars, juices, and cereals that claim the be good for you are still loaded with sugars and lack vitamins. While organizations like WHO have the data on the damages of over-eating processed food, there are very few restrictions on what can be sold and how products can be deceitfully marketed.

Katie McNulty

Image result for ronald mcdonald cartoon

https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/pays_to_advertise_report_nov_2012.pdf

http://www.who.int/features/2014/uk-food-drink-marketing/en/

https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/reports/review-food-marketing-children-and-adolescents-follow-report/121221foodmarketingreport.pdf

https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/reports/childrens-exposure-television-advertising-1977-and-2004-information-obesity-debate-bureau-economics/cabecolor.pdf

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7 thoughts on “Marketing Processed Food to Children is a Threat to their Lifelong Health

  1. I agree and I think it is about time we start educating kids today in school on food. In some countries they actually have classes where they teach kids how to prepare food and how to make decisions on eating healthy. If we did this for kids today maybe this would inspire some to actually take control of their diet and eat healthy foods instead of fast food.
    Tony Doll

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  2. What specific data on the damages of over eating processed foods did you find most compelling? I believe a big problem, not just in the U.S., or even just in youths, is that people do not understand what a healthy meal portion is. Yes, fast food, candy, high sugar foods, etc, are harmful on their own, but many people would be healthier purely by understanding how much food we should be eating versus how much we are actually eating.

    Halle Van De Hey

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  3. I agree with this, I wish when I was younger I was more informed about how to read the label on food products and the dangers of fast food. Educating children at a young age will help them carry out healthy life styles throughout their life.
    Lauren Reinhard

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  4. I can definitely relate to this problem with processed foods. Growing up we always had food that either came out a box or plastic container that had been made in a processed food factory. As a kid you don’t know or really care what is in the food, just as long as it tastes good and has a cool logo. I used to eat processed meats like hotdogs and bologna all the time growing up. – Elizabeth Mullett

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  5. I watched a documentary on Netflix a few months ago that was all about what you just discussed. It talked a lot about how these fast food industries target kids not only because they will eat them when their little but keep them hooked on these kind of foods so when they grow up they associate with a fond memory of the childhood and continue to consume their food.

    Really crazy stuff, I appreciated your piece and the reseach you put into it!

    Victoria Obermeyer

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  6. It is crazy how kids are bombarded with fast food and junk food marketing. Kids love junk food and fast food so it makes sense that they would market to children this way, but it is really unfortunate for the kids. It teaches them bad health habitats when they are young and then these habits are hard to break later on in life. Hopefully someday only healthy options will be marketed to kids

    Tom walters

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