The Marketing of Food to Children

Topics: Nutrition, Obesity, Food Pages: 5 (1999 words) Published: January 13, 2013
The Marketing of Food to Children
Bill Cronin
DeVry University

The Marketing of Food to Children
The majority of children today tend to crave more sugary foods, fattier foods and other various unhealthy foods. These cravings are the direct result of marketing these types of foods to children through television commercials with the use of catchy music, cartoons, bright colors, TV actors, and other fictional characters; for example, McDonalds with Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar. They also usually offer toys or prizes with the food to entice children even more like putting a prize in the cereal box or offering a toy with their meal. A majority of these foods that do this are extremely unhealthy for everyone and are known to cause obesity and oral health problems. Therefore, it is imperative if we want to stop the increasing rate of obesity and prevent the early development of oral health problems, then we need to abolish the marketing of unhealthy food to children and reduce children’s ability to obtain these foods when not under a parent’s supervision. The first and most critical reason to stop the targeting of unhealthy food to children is the impact it has had on the growing rate of obesity and the large majority of kids being considered overweight or obese. In our country the numbers of children who are considered overweight or obese grow every year at an alarming rate. This in hand is cultivating a generation of adults that will be unhealthy and overweight as well. This in turn will be passed down to their children making a legacy of unhealthy habits. However, we must examine the first reason the unhealthy habits develop at such a young age. The answer is quite simple, television. Like any advancement in technology there are always their draw backs. One of the leading drawbacks is advertising. Advertising in short is a quick way to taunt us into spending our hard-earned money on most things we don't need. The fast food industry has taken this medium and ran with it for years by using attention-grabbing cartoons like McDondald's has utilized for years or fun cartoon characters like Sonny for Cocoa Puffs. These strategies have helped grab the attention of youngsters and urge them to buy their products. Story and French explain the impact advertising has had on children’s eating behaviors. A majority of these foods directed towards children are high in fat, sugar, salt, and are generally unhealthy. For many companies, children have become targets of marketing campaigns because children are a major source of revenue. This is because kids influence their parents’ buying decisions and are the future adult consumers. A child who watched Tony the Tiger and friends enjoy Frosted Flakes is going to beg, scream, and cry for their very own box of Frosted Flakes. This has made children a prime target for many marketing strategies such as television advertisements, in-school marketing, toys, and even a newer method, the internet (Story & French, 2004). Advertising agencies have gone to new levels to build a better relationship with children through the use of the internet (Brustein, 2011).  The internet has revolutionized everything. There are not many things left in the world that have not been made better by the internet. We can talk with friends on the other half of the globe, we can Google just about anything we desire, and we can even be solicited while we browse our favorite websites. Banners run across the top and sides of a web page to get us to buy a product. The ads are targeted to you based on your interests by monitoring what you view on the web. For example, a young child of 6 or 7 that goes to will be shown commercials for McDonald's, Barbie, Cap 'N Crunch, Ice Cream, M&M's, and so on. These banners continue to blink, sing, and move all in an attempt to engage the child in the advertisement. McDonald's has taken this a step further by creating a whole website,, designed around...

References: Brustein, J. (2011, April 25). McDonald’s Makes Play for Children Online. New York Times. p. 4. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
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Deforche, B., De Bourdeaudhuij, I., D 'hondt, E., & Cardon, G. (2009). Objectively measured physical activity, physical activity related personality and body mass index in 6- to 10-yr-old children: a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 61-9. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-6-25
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