April 20, 2005
Child obesity is a growing problem in today's society. "On average 28% of girls age 6-11 are overweight." Pediatricians are now seeing more and more children with high levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, and adult on-set diabetes. In 1997 American children obtained 50% of their calories from added fat and sugar and only 1% of children's diets resembled the recommended proportions of the Food Pyramid. The amount of money that is spent marketing to children is outrageous. Companies purposefully market to the young children's tastes in a variety of ways through package design, typefaces, pictures, and content. Key elements for successful marketing to young children are carefully and thoughtfully planned by companies. The entertainment, fast and friendly service, immediate gratification, familiar brand-names fun-to-eat, reasonable prices, value, and quality time are all fundamental basics. Companies justify their marketing as a "public service, expression of freedom of speech, and argue that the advertised foods are not inherently unhealthful, and emphasize that exercise not dietare the key to weight control. Company's claim that advertising contributes to nutrition education and argue that the primary responsibility for determining dietary intake rests with parents and caretakers." Unfortunately children are not with their parents or caretakers every minute of the day thus leaving time for them to fend for themselves while in school. Large corporations have now turned to schools to really target youngsters and make a large profit in the process. Food marketers see young school children as an "unparalleled marketing opportunity." It's often hard to distinguish between commercial and noncommercial activities within schools. This has left many wondering if companies really have an interest in bettering the education in schools or just simply out to make money. After...