The impact of food advertising on childhood obesity
"Spanish Alberto Garzón's department prepares a royal decree so that online platforms and influencers cannot send messages about unhealthy foods to the youngest" this has been the title of many Spanish newspapers this week.
Obesity is still a major problem among children as, according to Statista, 27 per cent of boys and 20 per cent of girls aged between 11 and 15 years in England were classed as obese in 2019. But, why does this happen? While showing advertisements of toys and other interests for kids on cartoon TV channels, ads of fast food are also shown to children in their prime time.
Today’s children, ages 8 to 18, consume multiple types of media (often simultaneously) and spend more time (44.5 hours per week) in front of a computer, television, and game screens than any other activity in their lives except sleeping. Research has found strong associations between increases in advertising for non-nutritious foods and rates of childhood obesity. Most children under age 6 cannot distinguish between programming and advertising and children under age 8 do not understand the persuasive intent of advertising.
So, is it ethical that this kind of advertisement is shown to kids? Could child obesity decrease if these advertisements were banned from public television?