Marketing Unhealthy Food To Children
Marketing Unhealthy Food To Children Families of today face many challenges including the act of balancing a budget, managing dual careers, and juggling multiple extracurricular activities. These challenges can have negative impacts on planning a healthy diet. A good diet is a major part of living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the growing problem of obesity.Marketing Unhealthy Food To Children Families of today face many challenges including the act of balancing a budget, managing dual careers, and juggling multiple extracurricular activities. These challenges can have negative impacts on planning a healthy diet. A good diet is a major part of living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the growing problem of obesity. At one time the problem of obesity was considered an adult concern which has changed over the years. There are a number of children considered obese and now living with adult health problems it creates. Now that the family of today has so much jammed into its busy schedule of challenges, how did children become the picture of obesity today? The answer to this question lies in the marketing tactics used to promote unhealthy food. As the family dynamic evolves to meet and exceed these challenges, businesses have come to appreciate the role of children and the buying power available to them through an allowance or verbal persuasion. Advertising directed toward children has expanded from commercials using favorite personalities to include the internet, games, and promotional campaigns using toys and animated characters to capture a child’s attention. The target of many junk food advertisements, children are now faced with many health problems derived from obesity. Over the years as obesity rates among children continue to grow as does the marketing budget of many food companies. Advertising budgets of big food company’s rise into the millions as earnings from sales calculate into the billions, these numbers standing like a shadow to the obesity rates of children clearly impacted. The timed question of what’s for dinner is still pretty important and with demands on time, the nearest drive-through window provides the quickest answer. However quick the answer the quest to eat right and stay healthy does not end at the drive-through window. Over the years, fast food restaurants have developed some of the most memorable campaigns to promote unhealthy food to children. Memorable characters like the Hamburglar or Ronald McDonald have managed to focus on all of their target audience, from the parent to the child. Marketing campaigns to address the budget concern of parents with the convenience of a dollar menu. The happy meal from McDonald’s which keep children pleading their case to parents for their favored meal with a toy. The marketing campaign of fast food restaurants has been developed to target children with toys designed to coincide with newly released family movies. These campaigns reach children through television commercials during favorite programs. In the past, this focused marketing has left children open to at least 13 ads per day (according to Marlene Schwartz and Amy Ustjanaukas, 2012). The number of unhealthy food ads geared toward children has greatly increased today. “Since the late 1970s, obesity rates have more than doubled among children 6 to 11 years of age and more than tripled among those 12 to 19 years of age” (Nestle, 2006). As these obesity rates increase they begin to mirror the increase in unhealthy food marketing toward this young target. The increased obesity rates in children have begun to raise concern over other health issues including diabetes and heart disease. Obesity rates of children have become a growing conversation between doctors and many parents. As parents stroll down grocery store aisles with empty carts, there is a new voice making a plea for various snacks and other food items to plan for the menu. A parent’s distraction and a child’s memory of a favorite character lands extra items in the grocery cart. It is now up to that parent to counteract the many advertisements committed to the child’s memory. This new family dynamic and buying power of the child has sparked a new argument over the cause of obesity rates and who is to blame or be held accountable.