Advertising could promote childhood obesity

Health policies are increasingly focused on prevention so that it does not have to be cured later. This explains, for example, the awareness campaigns against smoking and in favor of responsible driving. However, it also makes sense to think that just as propaganda can be used to improve habits, the reverse can also happen.

Obese children: what role does advertising play?

And is that, like many cultural products like video games or music are often accused (without merit) of inducing unwanted behaviorThe idea that advertising affects us in ways that go beyond our purchasing preferences does not seem crazy. Could it be that ads are changing the way we are and making things worse?

A recent study indicates that this may be happening with the influence that unhealthy industrial food advertising has on toddlers.

What is the research?

The research from which this conclusion was drawn is a meta-study conducted by analyzing data obtained from 18 previously published studies. The team that promoted the study wanted to gain insight into the results achieved by other scientists in order to find out whether the unhealthy food advertisements change the consumption habits of children and adults and thus provide a basis for putting into practice. enforces some advertising regulations should they exist. is an unwanted influence.

Thus, all of the experimental design studies selected for the meta-analysis investigated the relationship between exposure to industrial food advertising and food consumption. This way, samples of children and adults exposed to advertising of this type of food were usedData was collected on the amount of food they ate and this data was compared to that of individuals who did not see this ad.

The results

The data obtained show that this type of advertising has a significant effect, Although small or moderate, in the amount of food boys and girls eat, while it does not seem to happen in the same way with the adult population.

This reinforces the idea that occasional exposure to food advertising causes children to eat more, which can have social and political implications.

Do these conclusions make sense?

In fact, yes. Young people are particularly prone to be influenced by all kinds of stimuli, And this is reflected very well in the way they imitate and adopt the habits they see in others or in fashion trends. Also, even though the ads are designed to buy a particular product, that doesn’t mean they can’t have a much wider spectrum of effects than just keep buying a single brand, so minors try to respond. to the needs of advertisements. emphasize through all kinds of behaviors related (but not equal) to those observed in advertising.

The effects of this do not affect the sales volume of the companies concerned, but they do have an impact on the lives of young people and on public health systems. Regulating further by controlling more of what is shown in these types of ads can be tricky, but in light of this data, it’s a path that might be worth taking, given the ubiquitous nature of advertising. not only on television but also on the Internet. , a space in which the youngest develop like fish in water.

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