Misleading Advertising Can Turn Young People into Fat People
Local Fruits and Veggies Rarely Seen on Primetime T.V.
by Shreya Dahal, age 13
Advertising can be a very powerful tool. The same advertising techniques that encourages thousands of young people to smoke could also be making them fat. Some ads attempt to trick adolescents into craving certain foods, when they see ads.
A study published recently in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, finds that if Americans only ate food advertised on television, they would consume 25 times more sugar and 20 times more fat than is recommended. They would also get less than half of their necessary fruit, vegetable, fiber and dairy requirements.
Researchers spent 28 days recording prime-time slots of four major broadcast networks. During that time, they viewed 3,000 commercials, 800 of which advertised food products. Using a software program, they analyzed the nutritional values of the foods in the advertisements. They then compared their findings with the government’s food guide pyramid and the recommended daily intake of certain nutrients.
The study assumed a 2,000-calorie a day diet of foods that were only featured in advertisements. They found that a diet consisting of only advertised foods led to higher levels of cholesterol, saturated fat and salt, which raise the risk of chronic disease. This diet also would not offer enough necessary nutrients like iron, calcium or vitamins A, D and E
“Just one advertised food item by itself will provide, on average, three times your daily recommended servings of sugar and two and a half times your daily recommended servings of fat,” said Michael Mink, an assistant professor of Health Sciences at Armstrong Atlantic State University, in Savannah, Georgia.
“That means one food item could give you three days’ worth of sugar.”
People are easily persuaded by the appearance of the food they see in commercials. Many of the advertisements don’t focus on the health affects that come from the food. The advertisers goal is to make the product appealing to the viewers. There is a big difference in the amount of nutrients your body needs and the amount that these advertised food products are providing.
Experts say consumers should pay more attention to the actual health benefits of the food they buy. Wise consumers will pay less attention to the commercials they see.
[Source: The New York Times]