A study of television commercials aimed at preschoolers, based on randomly selected four-hour morning programming blocks on PBS, Disney and Nickelodeon aimed specifically at toddlers and preschoolers, revealed that the three networks aired 130 food-related ads during this period.
Furthermore, more than half of those food commercials were specifically geared toward kids, and most were for fast-food chains (50) and sweetened cereals (18).
Fast food chains accounted for 82 percent of the advertising/sponsor messages on PBS and 36 percent of those on the Disney Channel.
The Federal Communications Commission is developing plans to study the links between television ads, viewing habits and the rise of childhood obesity.
Reports have indicated that the average child watches two to four hours of TV per day, and views 40,000 TV ads each year, the vast majority of them for cereal, candy, toys and fast food. American companies spend roughly $15 billion a year on advertising targeted at children under the age of 12.
According to the Institute of Medicine, one-third of American children are either obese or at risk for becoming obese. Some advocacy groups are calling for a ban on junk food commercials aimed at children.
I've been talking about television a lot this week, and with good reason. If you live in the United States your kids are exposed to a potential 40,000 ads each year, and most of them are for fast food chains and sweetened cereals.
Think about that: 40,000 messages pounded into your child's mind, conflicting with everything you may be trying to tell them about health and nutrition.
Limiting your family time in front of a television can have a huge positive impact on your child's health. As I've said many times before, TV can:
Not to mention that the United States and New Zealand are the ONLY industrialized countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs, which only furthers the reliance on a broken health care system that uses "Band-Aid" drugs and surgery to address symptoms, while never looking at underlying causes.
If you really want to do your children, and yourself, a favor, get away from the TV and do something active.
You can view the links below for some helpful suggestions.