Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why Should Junk Food Advertisements Be Banned?

Children obesity has been a headache for not only developed but also many developing nations. Overweight or obese children will have a higher risk of developing chronic diseases like hypertension (high blood pressure), heart disease, Type-2 diabetes and stroke later in their life.

Inadequate physical activity and unhealthy diet are the 2 main reasons identified by health experts that cause the childhood obesity. Children tend to watch long hours of television and eat a lot of junk foods.

In a paper published in June 2011 in the journal ‘Pediatrics’, researchers from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom reported that television advertisements for junk food really make children hunger for those treats, especially if they watch a lot of television.

A DVD featuring commercials for fast food and junk food seemed to stimulate the appetites for sweet and high fat fare for children aged between 6 and 13 years old.

The children involved in the study had a greater desire for sweet and fatty foods after viewing the junk-food advertisements compared to days when they watched advertisements for toys. This was especially true for those children who watched a lot of television (defined in the study as over 21 hours a week).

While children wanted more high carbohydrate, high fat foods after watching junk food advertisements, the effects of the advertisements were modest. The researchers argued that in real life, a lot of other factors like parents’ willingness to buy those junk foods could affect the choice of food for the children.

Exposure to television food commercials would enhance high television viewers' preferences for branded foods and increased reported preferences for all food items (branded and unbranded) relative to the low television viewers, according to the researchers.

Children nowadays watch television not only at home but also on their computers as well as mobile phones, which can add up to a lot of hours. There is no doubt that parents should limit the television time of their children, but of course with some help. This is because parents alone cannot counter the food companies who spend huge amount (about $2 billion) every year on fun and irresistible advertisements aiming at kids.

Perhaps it is time for legislation and any relevant authorities to step in!


  1. Hello,

    I really liked your article. The society of these days live to unhealthy. To much junkfood, no workouts and to much tv like you said in your blog. I had no idea commercials had such a big influence on people's minds. Gym's and fitniss programs have to make more commercials. A healthy lifestyle is very important. Maybe you should put that in their.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Yes. Well said. I like your way of presentation regarding the effect of junk food advertisements. Now-a-days most of the people are trying to take the junk foods due to many reasons. It shows lot of bad effect on their health. So, it is better to ban the Junk food advertisements.