Food Ads That Are Like Wolves in Sheeps Clothing

Food Ads That Are Like Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing Children are very impressionable. They easily grasp things around them and imbed these in their minds and unconsciously become influenced in their attitudes and behaviours. One example is their exposure to food commercials. Once they watch a commercial about a food product with their favourite cartoon character, that is the image that will stick to them and then they will ask their parents to buy it for them and argue that the commercial says it’s good for them. They become enamoured with the products that are like adorable sheep not knowing that it is only the disguise of the wolves inside just waiting to prey on these naïve consumers.
The video entitled “We’re Not Buying It: Stop Junk Food Marketing To Kids” (Prevention Institute, 2011) exposes how vulnerable children are to the power of food advertising especially if it caters to their interests. The video asks how the food industry can even penetrate schools with the guise of supporting charity projects but are actually marketing strategies promoting their unhealthy food and beverage products. The video also revealed that most advertised food and beverage products have too much sugar, salt and fat in them but are packaged as healthy food in order to be sold. Since children are bombarded with thousands of such food ads every year, and even incorporated in movies and their favourite video games, then they consume much of these food and drinks in their unhealthy diets. Hence, 1 in 3 children are expected to be prone to Diabetes when they grow up as 40% of their diets come from added sugars and unhealthy fats (Prevention Institute, 2011).
I can relate the message in the video with some theories from Sharma &amp. Romas (2012) taken up in class. Health Belief Model discussed in class proposes that one’s health is determined by his personal beliefs or perceptions, and if children believe the message that advertisements convey, then they get sucked into unhealthy diets and lifestyles. In addition to that, the Social Cognitive theory contends that personal, behavioural and environmental factors interplay in creating patterns in behaviour, and advertising being a great part of their environment can really have a strong impact on how they see food. Taking away food ads that push consumers towards unhealthy choices will make healthy eating much easier for everybody.
There should be stricter regulations for advertising especially if it involves the health and safety of consumers. Deceptive marketing strategies that eventually harm children’s health should be banned. Parents should also be more discerning in shopping for food for their children, putting their health as top priority over their children’s whims. This way, everyone collaborates to ensure that children consume only healthy foods and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
References
Prevention Institute (2011) We’re Not Buying It: Stop Junk Food Marketing To Kids, Retrieved on March 4, 2013 fromhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab9zbqHJ_p4
Sharma, M. &amp. Romas, J. (2012).&nbsp.Theoretical Foundations of Health Education and Health Promotion&nbsp.(2nd ed.). Ontario, Canada. Jones &amp. Bartlett Learning.