Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Marketing Food to Children: The Viral Video Big Food Doesn't Want Parents to See

Food

Each year, "Big Food" spends $2 billion in marketing campaigns to get its unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks into the hands of children.

This, and many other startling facts, were delivered in a 2013 viral YouTube video by Food MythBusters' Anna Lappe, which has begun to recirculate given First Lady Michelle Obama's recently-announced plans to ramp up the fight against the food industry and its ongoing push to saturate children with messaging that encourages unhealthy eating.

)

According to Lappe, here's what children, teens and parents are up against:

  • Children see an average of 4,600 commercials per year that advertise foods high in sugar, fat and calories.

  • Minority teens are strategically exposed to 80 percent more soda and drink ads since market research shows their demographic is more susceptible to such messaging. 

  • Big food's ads have been integrated into schools with junk food-sponsored signage on classroom walls and Oreo cookie, M&M's and Froot Loops study materials on students' desks and lunch trays.

  • The food industry mines teen cell phone numbers and addresses to send texts and coupons for things like discounted McDonald's Big Macs and free candy bars. 

  • Dentists are seeing a rise of young people in their 20s requiring dentures due to diets high in sugar. 

  • To get a Coca-Cola "physical activity kit" through My Coke Rewards—a prize and sweepstakes program that targets children—one would have to purchase 55,000 cans of Coke. 

"In the past 30 years, the prevalence of obesity among children and teens has tripled," said Lappe. "Today, a child born in this country has a 1 in 3 chance of developing [diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma and even certain cancers] at some point in their lifetime. For African-American and Latino kids, that's a 1 in 2 chance."

What Can Be Done?

  • Michelle Obama recently proposed new rules through her "Let's Move" campaign to limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools. Under suggested federal regulations, companies would no longer be allowed to use logos of high-calorie products on cups, vending machines or posters.

  • Maine has initiated a statewide ban on marketing junk food in schools.

  • In California, moratoriums have been set to limit the spread of fast food franchises in neighborhoods lined with unhealthy restaurants.

  • Campaign for a Commercial Free Chlldhood stopped McDonald's from including coupons for free Happy Meals in school report cards.

"To the junk food industry I say this: my children, all of our children, are none of your business," said Lappe to end the video presentation.

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and HEALTH pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hurricane Florence on Sept. 12, 2018. ESA / A.Gerst / CC BY-SA 2.0

The 2020 hurricane season is now expected to be the most active since at least the early 1980s, meteorologists at Colorado State University, a standard bearer for seasonal hurricane predictions, announced Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Qamutik cargo ship on July 28, 2020 in Canada's Nunavut province, where two ice caps have disappeared completely. Fiona Paton / Flickr

Three years ago, scientists predicted it would happen. Now, new NASA satellite imagery confirms it's true: two ice caps in Canada's Nunavut province have disappeared completely, providing more visual evidence of the rapid warming happening near the poles, as CTV News in Canada reported.

Read More Show Less
The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. European Environmental Agency / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Katell Ané

The European Commission launched a new Farm to Fork strategy in an effort to reduce the social and environmental impact of the European food system. It is the newest strategy under the European Green Deal, setting sustainability targets for farmers, consumers, and policymakers.

Read More Show Less
President Trump signs an executive order regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Donald Trump and his campaign Wednesday for violating their policies against spreading false information about COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute staff and volunteers try to help a stranded bottlenose dolphin in Cockroach Bay near Ruskin, Florida on Sept. 17, 2015. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of plastics and new forms of synthetic chemicals in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
Smoke rises above wrecked buildings following a deadly explosion on Aug. 4, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. Marwan Tahtah / Getty Images

By Alexander Freund

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab says he believes Tuesday's explosion in Beirut could have been caused by large quantities of ammonium nitrate stored in the port.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Black Americans are dying from Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, and at younger ages, partly due to poor diets that make bodies less resistant to the coronavirus. Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

By Michelle D. Holmes

Most Americans know about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans primarily through their colorful representations: the original food pyramid, which a few years ago morphed into MyPlate. The guidelines represent the government mothering us to choose the healthiest vegetables, grains, sources of protein, and desserts, and to eat them in the healthiest portions.

As innocuous as the food pyramid and MyPlate seem, they are actually a matter of life and death.

Read More Show Less