English Comp 1
October 13, 2011
Assault and Pester:
The Spices of Marketing Food to Kids and the Truth Behind Tele-Tubbies
Because, kids think it's never too early to tell you what they want, then maybe, it's never too late to teach them what they need. If you cook a healthy and balanced dinner and your children decide it is not to their liking, would you be remiss in telling them that you are not running a short order house? If they do not like what you have prepared they can skip dinner and go to bed. Don't worry: kids will not starve and hunger is a powerful motivator, so whether it's a four year old's tears or a teen's last scream of defiance, "None of my friends have to follow these stupid rules!" What's the worst that could happen? It's a small price to pay if you consider the alternative of not teaching healthy eating habits.
According to Matthew Davis MD, an associate professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, childhood obesity has been number one on the list of top ten childhood health issues the past four years in a row (Hendrick). Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or well being. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated that 6 percent of Americans between the ages of 6 and 19 were overweight in the mid-to-late 1970s (Sullum 12-13). Now, compare that to the approximately, 17 percent of children and teens who are obese today (CDC).
One has to ask the question. Why? Many people believe that the main reason for this increase is saturation advertising in today's media, which is, often geared toward kids. In 2010-2011, advertisers spent over 30 billion dollars a year on children's advertising. That shows a 60 percent increase since the
year 2000 (Simontacchi 11). This is money used in the hawking of products from soda, candy, sugary
breakfast cereals, and snack cakes, to iPads, iPods, video systems, and games. The list of products designed to promote tooth decay and a sedentary life style is endless. This kaleidoscope of ceaseless junk clicking past our kids eyeballs gives us the illusion that the villainy and ethics of advertising executives could stoop no lower than the rock bottom it seems to have already found. But, they can; they actually employ psychologists and other childhood behavioral experts to figure out ways to better manipulate our teens, tweens, and crumb crunchers into better manipulating us. How many times have you tried to make it through a shopping trip and not be verbally assaulted or pestered by one of your kids to throw something, they just have to have, into the old shopping cart? Fat chance, you are dealing with trained assassins.