“Childhood Obesity” Does the Media Play a Big Role?
Instructor Dr. Marsha Beckwith-Howard
The nature of childhood obesity is growing at a fast rate since two decades ago. People are finding more and more children at risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes since the media has focused on children eating more sugar and fast food in their diets. However, media is sending subliminal messages to kids through commercial and tricking them to convince parents to buy bad junk food. Therefore, Parents need to regulate how much television and fatty food their children watch and eat. Since children are watching too much television and not exercising; they are being tricked to eat unhealthy and become obese. “Reducing food marketing to children has been proposed as one means for addressing the global crisis of childhood obesity, but significant social, legal, financial, and public perception barriers stand in the way. The scientific literature documents that food marketing to children is (a) massive; (b) expanding in number of venues (product placements, video games, the Internet, cell phones, etc.); (c) composed almost entirely of messages for nutrient-poor, calorie-dense foods; (d) having harmful effects; and (e) increasingly global and hence difficult to regulate by individual countries.” (Harris, 2009) Fast food chains are sending subliminal messages in commercials and online games intended for children to eat their food and convince the children’s parents to buy it for them. Therefore, the media needs to get more boundaries on how much soliciting they can do to our children these days. There should be laws against letting the media send messages through commercials and gaming so they can have a chance as adults to be healthy. Another way the companies trick our children is through food stylist. The companies hire food stylist to make their food and burgers look perfect and mouth watering on television. “It isn’t too tough to make a mouth-watering burger at home. But could you make it look delicious even after it sits for hours under bright lights in a photo studio?” (PBS, 2004) Therefore, the stylist’s uses craft glue, paint brushes, and waterproof spray for the buns not to go soggy. They have over 100 buns and 2 dozen of tomatoes and 2 heads of lettuce for their shooting session. When they do this it is like taking a model and airbrushing her at the final picture, it is fake. There are so many tricks of the trade out there that is brainwashing our nation. Research shows that what we view with our minds and eyes are much more powerful than we realize. Marketers want you to automatically associate their food with feeling great. They link their brands to basic human motivations-like accomplishments so they can boost sales. The media is very devious, “Almost every company selling a good or service uses some form of advertising. Advertising is “impersonal” , one-way mass communication about a product or organization that is paid for by marketers” (Lamb, Heair, McDaniel, 2000), they know how we interpret things. Our televisions are not doing good for our children, it is hurting them. The media uses all kinds of subliminal messages, “This type of advertising uses subliminal stimuli, messages presented so fast or so softly or so masked by other messages that one is not aware of “seeing” or “hearing” them (Hawkins, Best, Carey, 1995), they put in energy levels that are so low so your mind takes it in without knowing. The media figured out how to do this from older rock songs that if you played them backwards you hear a hidden message. Take for instance, marketers paying athletes to eat Lay’s potato chips and fast food places and you will look like them. Another example would be Vitamin Water, it claims to be a healthier drink than soda, but it is just sugar water and it would take a person forty sit-ups to get...
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