I have been researching the effects of food ads on public health and have developed concerns about food marketing, especially messages targeting young audiences. Since the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) released a report in 2006 claiming food ads’ negative effects on the way children view and prefer food, there have been more and more studies solidifying this evidence.
Because our generation and the ones after it will never know a world without pervasive media, I am afraid that many people do not have the tools necessary to critically analyze media messages and therefore are unknowingly affected by them. This denial is dangerous, and causes us to overlook the real facts about the food we eat. I emphasize food ads targeting children specifically because it exploits their lack of experience with media messages; they are more likely to trust the advertisements and ask their parents for food that is glorified by the TV, but is detrimental to their long-term health.
The first step in this battle is raising awareness and recognizing that there is a correlation between what our children see on TV and what they prefer in their diets. Once more people recognize that public health is being compromised by the food and beverage industry for no reason other than profit, we will be able to stand up against these exploitations and promote a healthier lifestyle for our children and theirs.
Class of 2018
Major in Journalism, Minor in Communications