Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How Big of a Role Does the Media Play in the Obesity Epidemic?

How Big of a Role Does the Media Play in the Obesity Epidemic?
One of the biggest risks to public health in this country is obesity. The epidemic is affecting, everybody, including our children. This has been confirmed by various organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. While a lot of work is done to prevent obesity by educating the public about the importance of eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical exercise, it seems that little is done about discovering the link between childhood obesity and the media. Let’s take a look at the role the media plays in this pandemic.
Media Facts
  • Children are influenced by the advertisements they see on the programs they watch for many hours each day.
  • Children don’t know the difference between advertising and content.
  • An 18 year old has spent around 15,000 hours watching TV, during which time they saw 200,000 advertisements.
  • The more TV a child watches, the more likely they are to be obsess, according to a 2001 Crespo study.
  • Obesity is 50% more common in kids who watch TV for at least three hours per day according to a 2003 Tremblay study.
  • Children who watch a lot of TV don’t engage in a lot of physical activity.
  • More and more TV advertisements for snacks, sodas, candies, and unhealthy foods are targeted specifically at children.
  • Around $15 billion is spent each year to advertise children’s foods.
  • On a Saturday morning, a child may be exposed to one food advertisement every five minutes.
  • The more TV adolescents watch, the less fruits they eat according to a 2003 study by Boynton-Jarret, R.
Clearly, television and media advertising plays a huge role in childhood obesity. So what can you do as a parent if you don’t want your child ending up having to look for Suffolk NY bariatric surgery?
  1. Make sure that your kids know too much fast food, like cereals, energy drinks, sodas, and simple carbs are bad for them and will make them put on weight.
  2. Control the portion sizes your children eat.
  3. Make sure your kids move enough.
  4. Provide your children with healthy choices like whole grains, whole wheat bread, vegetables, and fruits.
  5. Remove sugared foods and drinks from your house. Give them as an occasional treat, after your child has had a healthy meal.
It is simply impossible to get away from the media and the influence they have on society. They have a vested interest in making us unhealthy, unfortunately. Many fast foods have addictive substances in them, which means kids will want more and more of them, even if they aren’t exposed to advertisements. This, in turn, means they become unhealthier, which is good news for the pharmaceutical industry. When you add the three big players – the media, the fast food industry and the pharmaceutical industry – together, you can suddenly see that the obesity epidemic  may actually have been created for financial gain.


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