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Could a Mandated Fast Food Ad Ban Cut Child Obesity?

Experts have gone back and forth on whether the pause in kids' weight gains is permanent, but a new study shows a ban on fast food television ads could help reduce the number of overweight children in the US by 18 percent.

The study, which was compiled by the National Bureau of Economic Research, questioned whether government regulation (something that's been done in Sweden, Norway and Finland) could help the US trim the unhealthy fat off children.

Estimates suggest 13.9 percent of children aged two to five are overweight and 18.8 percent of those aged six to 11 are as well. Exposure to TV is known to raise obesity rates and the Institute of Medicine put together evidence linking food advertising on television and increased childhood obesity.

Fifty-six percent of CitizenSugar readers believe the lull in childhood obesity is one thing, but kids are still too far from having healthy habits. Do you think government regulation of fast food ads help tip the scales in the right direction?


Join The Conversation
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 8 years
Yes, it very well could cut obesity. But NO it should not become legal. American families should know better than this. Everyone knows that eating junk food regularly is bad for you. The children of responsible parents should not have to miss these commercials advertising the newest menu item or Happy Meal toy just because some parents refuse to be responsible and buy and cook their children proper meals. EVERY food is okay to eat, but in moderation. It just really annoys me that the only way to stop people from doing stupid things in this country is to ban them from doing it. And the average American should not have to be on the hook for the health care of people who deliberately choose to eat food that damages their bodies.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
imabeliever :TRUE:
Bitte-Ein-Kuss Bitte-Ein-Kuss 8 years
That picture makes me sad.
Imabeliever Imabeliever 8 years
WTF?? As a parent of two boys this pisses me off. I am responsible for what I allow my children to eat and what they are influenced by. ME! I purchase the food, I cook the food, I present the food at meal times and expect them to eat it. Therefore if I am serving crap that will make them fat..I am the bad parent. Sure..commercials for junk food are annoying and the kids will ask for it when they see it as the store..but guess what.. I am the parent and I can say the magical word..NO! And a funny thing happens.. if you feed your child crap..they like it and want it. If you DO not feed your child crap they tend to ask for, eat and enjoy the good stuff you give them.. my boys eat apples, plums, bananas, pineapple, oranges, tomatoes, cucumber, salads, bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, and more. If you offer them a bag of Cheeto's..of course they will be happy to eat them..but if you offered them a banana instead.. life goes on..the world doesn't end and they are happier and healthier for it. Sure..we occasionally still go to McDonald's or Winerschnitzel but maybe once a month.. twice a month if someone does really good at school. Certainly not daily or weekly like some parents do. I would prefer to make cheeseburgers at home and control the ingredients and substitute sweet potatoes fries from the over vs oil coated fries with a lb of sodium on them from Mickey D's but I can compromise now and then. Ultimately though.. I am the parent. I am responsible for my child's health. Unless a child has a health condition that causes obesity..their is no excuse. IMO.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
momma your kids have on bk crowns..... damn advertising... lol
outofhere outofhere 8 years
And that picture is on beyond scary.
outofhere outofhere 8 years
Kids naturally love to move and play. Turn off the t.v. limit their computer time, let them romp around and play outside and for goodness sake, feed them healthy meals.
imLissy imLissy 8 years
my parents fed me crap as a kid. The minute I moved out of their house, I dropped 40 pounds. Now I try teaching them healthy eating habits. Not easy.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
look away GS :scared:
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Posts like this frighten me.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Yeah but Jude...umm I watch the Cartoon Network at all times of the day (yes I'm an adult but I a cartoon addict and animator) and I do not ever recall seeing a single ad for McDonald's or any other fast food place. I'd say that the 75% of the time that my tv is on its on cartoons. I see commercials for Toys, video games, childrens movies, and educational toys. The only food related commercials I can recall seeing in the last year on Cartoon Network were either during Adult Swim which is not for children at all and those were Taco Bell, Subway and BK and during the kids cartoons I've seen loads of government spots telling kids to turn off the tv and play outside or eat 5 fruits and veggies a day and commercials or yogurt or gogurt and juice.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
Roarman, you are absolutely right. My husband and I both work full time as well, AND my kids are in many activities as well as the activities my husband and I participate in. But you know what? Every night except Wednesday I cook dinner. Sure there are exceptions, like special occasions or just feeling like going out to eat. However it's not the "norm". It's called planning ahead. It's called putting the KIBOSH on things interfering with dinner time. It's called a schedule. Ours is pretty lax, but I can say with confidence that 5 out of 7 nights a week my boys and I have dinner together. The only reason my husband doesn't join us is because of his job. He generally doesn't get home until 8 or 9. So, I make dinner for the kids, we eat and I leave a plate in the fridge for my husband. I use my crock pot A LOT. Fast Food isn't evil. It's the way in which you consume it that is the issue. No, we can't control what other parents do, but the government should NOT be sticking their noses in and trying to parent for us. If you don't have the backbone to say NO to your kids when they whine and cry that they want something, then DON'T HAVE KIDS.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Ew, Panda Express :sick: It's a good point, wackdoodle, but I think the distinction is that alcohol commercials aren't targeted towards kids, while a lot of fast food commercials and marketing--like Happy Meals and commercials of happy happy kids munching away on burgers and whatnot--are more compelling to kids.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
Ha ha no it won't stop parents from feeding their children fast food. I have never seen a commercial for Panda Express on tv. Question; Do we herein the US have an epidemic with childhood alcoholism? Because there are alcohol commercials on tv during prime time and on the weekend when kids watch tv. If a kid watches a sport event on tv with their parent their bombarded with commercials for Beer and hard liquor so is there a marked increase in the number of 10 year old in rehab or children who have credit card or children who feel compelled to buy stock or life insurance or fabric softner?
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I think we can all agree that we would prefer less government involvement in our lives, it's just a matter of where we draw the line marking where we start to value less regulation over any benefit. For some people it's something like this, for others it's way back by the FDA.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
"And I'm not saying we should have an ad ban, but what if they tried it and it ended up having amazing results?" I just don't think the end would justify the means. I hate the idea of a parent state.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
I am not going to read the bazillion comments on here because I don't have the time, aso if I repeat anything someone has said sorry. It's the Parents fault their kids are fat. No one elses. stop trying to blame it on anyone but yourself. I am fat, by my own causing. I do not blame the fast food industry or diet pills or soda companies.... I can eat healthy and take a run. No one is stopping me from doing that but me. Now thank God, my kids love their fruits and veggies. We don't eat fast food often, and I limit their tv and encourage them to go outside to run and play. Guess what??? they arent fat!!!
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
True true... People are always looking for someone (or something) to blame, and that will never end... Maybe instead of bans we should think more about public education, although I do still think bans on advertising directly to children could help a lot of things. (I haven't watched TV in 3+ years so I don't know how many PSA's are playing these days.) Let's face it: advertisers JOB is to get people to buy stuff, and there's a lot to be said for the 'nag factor' that children can have.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
What if they just banned everything that was bad for us, like drugs? This is a free country. Freedom comes with the personal responsibility, and that is the one thing that many people seem to be forgetting. It's like I want to be able to do anything I want, but if I get hurt (physically or financially), I want to blame someone else for allowing me to do it.
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
Oh, and for the comment about "Why has this gotten so bad in only the last few years..?" Well, for starters, people cave in to their kids more now than ever, probably because they're stressed and overscheduled. If you look at food trends in the last 60 years (since fast food became a major player in the American dinner), we gradually have started eating more and more of it, paired with the fact that fast food meals have gotten bigger and bigger as well as more and more unhealthy (additives, artificial flavoring, etc.), and you have a recipe for an obese nation. Funny thing I notice: Quite a few of my friends and I have had to 're-educate' ourselves about healthy food as adults. The friends who were able to complete this process (which honestly can take a long time) *before* having kids pass those new healthy habits on to their kids. The ones who didn't get that chance and had kids young, I always see their kids with soda, chips, cookies or a 'value kids meal'.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Why not ban commericals for toys made out of plastic because they are bad for the enviroment too, or ban commericials of any household cleaning product that contains chemicals that are bad for children if they drink the.... seriously of course we can control the airwaves but what if I a person with no children like fast food commericals (which I don't) why should I be punished because kids are fat? It's the parents job how about the parents say monitoring tv time that would cut down on the amount of tv they see period!
True-Song True-Song 8 years
And I'm not saying we should have an ad ban, but what if they tried it and it ended up having amazing results?
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Sounds like you lucked out Dave, and that's great! I just think bitching about bad parents doesn't get us anywhere. It's really easy to say parents should not let their kids watch tv, shouldn't let them eat junk food, etc. And while I'm sure complaining on a blog does a lot of good...what actions can we take besides slapping parents who give their babies soda?
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
I'm probably going to hear it for this, since no one seems to be on the pro side for this ban, but I actually am... But I'd apply this to *all* advertising to children (toys, fast food, sugary cereals, etc.) Countries like the ones mentioned tend to have healthier kids in general (as well as bans on advertising to under __ years old), so I think it could have some impact. I love the 1st Amendment, don't get me wrong, but it's unhealthy (physically and psychologically) to raise our kids to be so materialistic and instant gratification seeking... We don't advertise cigarettes and alcohol to kids, right? Yes, we need to get kids outside and playing more. Yes we need to get them (and more importantly their parents) making healthier choices. But if a 5 year old doesn't sit through the commercial advertising the new Barbie doll/Hot Wheels car in the current Happy Meal, they're not going to care as much about going RIGHT NOW to get one, are they?
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