Disney’s bad food ban extends to channels, websites, and radio programs where tweens and children under 12 are the audience.
I know, this might be rubbing you the wrong way. I love sugar too. I love sweets. When I was in elementary school any kid who brought in a box of Lunchables or a pack of Pop Tarts was a God. However, as much as I love sugar, I hate what it does to my body. It makes me really hyper, then really tired! It makes me really lazy and–I hate to say it, it makes me gain weight.
Weight is a hot topic because it is always discussed in relation to how girls should look. Right now, we need to think about weight in terms of health. There’s a weight problem in America and it has a lot to do with obesity–childhood obesity. According to the Center For Disease Control obesity (which is not the same as just being overweight or having a few extra pounds) affects 17% of children. This is three times more than when your parents were growing up. Right now nearly 36% of adults are obese. The NY Daily News reports Type 2 Diabetes among kids 12 to 19 went from 9% in 1999 to 23% in 2008.
Here is the thing, when we see an awesome commercial for an unhealthy snack, we may not even want the snack. But that commercial with the funny song or cool character (Count Chocula, hello) might get stuck in our head and when we go to the grocery store we’ll be begging mom or dad to buy it. This is called “priming“. When you see or hear something over and over again, your brain naturally becomes drawn to it. You may be in the supermarket and think, “Oh, I want something sweet!” If you just saw an ad for Snickers, you’re more likely to buy that Snickers even if Reeses is what you’d normally get.
The problem with advertising to younger children is that they’re getting hooked on sugary treats from a young age where they probably don’t have enough info on nutrition to make better decisions. You start eating sweets when you’re a kid and it gets harder and harder to give them up in adulthood when they’ve begun to harm your health.
When you’re a kid you just want to do what feels good and eat what tastes good–sugar tastes good, duh! Unfortunately, it’s really bad for your body. No, it’s not something you have to completely stop eating, but anything that curbs those cravings is great.
Trust us, those ads are making you crave things you don’t even want. Just think about how good a Big Mac looks on TV and how dull and grey it looks when you actually get it. Advertisements are just fantasies to make bad stuff look really good.
On the flip side there are some really fun ads for junk foods. They’re totally ridiculous and creative–but I guess they’ll just have to channel those creative juices toward a healthier product.
For old times sake here’s our fave World of Warcraft Mountain Dew commercial.
How do you feel about junk food ads? Do you think teen and childhood obesity are a problem? Let us know in the comments!