Food companies are rushing to stop the government from passing laws that would affect sales of junk foods. The companies suggest “trust us, we’ll police ourselves” and have made pledges through the Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative to reduce marketing of junk to children.
The ugly truth however is they are aggressively increasing their marketing aimed specifically towards our children. Advertising designed to brainwash our children is so specific that one might think our children are walking around with a target on their back.
Even worse, the marketing tactics clearly and specifically target African American children with sniper-like precision.
Kelly Brownwell, director of the Rudd Center, reports that many fast food companies like McDonald’s and Burger King claim that they will self-regulate how they target the advertising of their food at children.
Fast food companies make these claims to avoid government-imposed regulations says Brownwell.
However, this study found that the amount of ads promoting junk food to children is actually on the rise!
Here are a few of the conclusions from Fast Food FACTS, the report of the Rudd Center study findings:
- On average a preschooler sees three fast food ads per day and a teenager sees five.
- Only 17% of the foods offered on regular fast food menus are considered healthy.
- Of the 3,039 possible fast food kids meal combinations, only 27 meet the nutritional guidelines for preschoolers and older children.
- Many fast food companies’ websites feature video games to engage children with their products.
- McDonald’s and Burger King pledged to reduce unhealthy children marketing, but children from the ages of 6 to 11 years old saw 26% more ads from McDonald’s in 2009 than in 2007 while Burger King increased 10%.
- McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell employees automatically served an unhealthy side such as French fries more than 84 percent of the time in addition to a sugary soft drink being served 55% of the time.
- African American children are targeted specifically by fast food companies and see 50% more advertising than their white peers. This targeting has led African American teenagers and children to eat twice as many calories from fast food than Caucasian teenagers and children!
- Fast food snacks and desserts that are often marketed directly to teenagers contain as much as 1500 calories, five times more than the American Dietetic Association’s recommendations.
To make sure that your children develop a lifetime of good health, not a reliance on fast food, prepare delicious meals with them at home in your own kitchen.
Homemade chicken finger recipes, healthy burrito recipes and other kids recipes that they love are quick and easy to prepare and can help stretch your grocery dollar. By spending a little time and getting your children involved will help your kids to give them an interest in the foods they eat.
While it can be difficult to control how much fast food advertising your child is exposed to, you can control the menu and grocery budget. As a parent make healthy choices that will last a lifetime.