It is unfortunate that despite having a prominent obesity epidemic, especially in North America, advertisements for fast food continue to be aimed at young kids. Advertisements target young children by using characters that can be recognized and will be idolized by kids, using bright colors and including incentives like toys with meals. All of this seems to work, too, because a recent study done shows that these ads, specifically when viewed on television, do indeed increase consumption.
The study involved 100 kids from age three and seven, and their parents, being interviewed about the TV they watch and the ads they see. The study done showed that when children constantly saw TV advertisements directing them towards certain foods and restaurants, the families were more likely to visit them frequently. Thirty-seven percent of parents responded that they went to the two restaurant chains showed frequently, and fifty-four percent said they went to one or the other. Out of the children, eighty-three percent asked their parents if they could visit the restaurant.
Jennifer Emond, who led the study, feels it is important to instead gear children away from TV that has commercials, because this is what has been shown to lead to such unhealthy lifestyles.
Keep in mind that children are very aware and absorbent of their surroundings. Even small things like repetitive commercials can influence a child, and because they may not be aware of the negative consequences of a diet like this, they only see it as being fun and good. As adults it’s important to instill healthy habits and lifestyle choices into children, limiting fast food to an occasional treat.