There is an on going debate in America that the media is to blame for basically all of the world’s problems: political, beauty standards and financial issues to name a few. However, you must draw a line when it comes to the way that fast food and other corporations target children in order to get them addicted to fatty foods at a young age in order to make them life long customers.
It is bad enough that McDonald’s takes on meaningless titles such as “The Official Restaurant of the Olympics” in order to associate themselves with being healthy, but when they target children and their tv programming with fun commercials offering toys and juggle gyms to lure the children into their restaurants, something needs to be done. This is a marketing ploy similar to ones used by the tobacco industry to draw in a younger audience and form their lives around addiction. This may sound harsh, but the evidence is clear when you watch movies such a ‘Supersize Me’. In this film, there is a section in which director Micheal Spurlock presents children with pictures of Jesus, George Washington and Ronald McDonald. Almost synonymously, every child points out, with a smile, Ronald McDonald without even recognizing the other two more important figures. (watch clip here)
Not only is it fast food, but anyone could pinpoint how sugar and candy are connected to children and the advertising for them are centered around children’s programing. Candy companies know that children are their target audience as they are the primary consumers of it. There is nothing wrong with an active child having a piece of candy or two every few days, but children that are sitting in front of a television all day watching countless sugar filled candy commercials are much more likely to over eat and not get the activity they need. Also, by eating too much candy, children especially can become more tired and thus more likely to continue this cycle of a sedentary lifestyle. This is a concept the University of San Fransisco calls displacement, because it displaces children from where they should be which is outside, away from screens and getting active to grow happily and healthily.
The best way to help prevent childhood obesity is not simply educating them on calories in PE class, but physically getting them away from the TV every once and a while and making sure they limit their glucose sugar intake. This means less McDonald’s and more time playing sports, or riding bikes. If parents show children the important of staying active, it will become a learned behavior that will more likely than not, stay with them for the rest of their lives.