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.