Media and Dietary Preferences

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Politics

Document 1

Most of these children do not have the ability to distinguish between what is positive and what is negative. Based on that stipulated argument, advertisements made to such children can be deemed exploitative in nature. Children have the ability to recall content they see on these advertisements and more often than not, they end up copying what they see. Obviously, advertisements affect children’s product preferences and in turn their purchases (Harris and Bargh. Junk food translates to obesity which translates to poor health and premature deaths. Incidents of obesity have been on the rise in the United States and in the world in general for the past thirty years. The trend is startling when it comes to children under the age of eighteen (Crowley 5).

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Although one of the contributors of this trend is reduced inactivity, poor diet takes the lion share of the blame. Food industries tend to point the blame on the parents, who in truth take part of the blame but advertisement is the major contributor of unhealthy eating. W2hile parents mostly focus on whether or not their children have eaten, advertisements give them the idea of what is cool to eat and what is not. Children may not be aware of the implications of consuming foods high in cholesterol and sugar, that is why, some governments, like those of United Kingdom have restrictions on such advertisements to curb obesity in children (Harris and Bargh). In the early 2000s, United Kingdom was provided information concerning advertisements and the role it played in children’s health by its advisory body, the Food Standards Agency (International Learning Series 5).

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In two thousand and sixteen, the World Health Organization came forward with rich and robust evidence linking advertisements to children’s preferences. This led to the establishment of the law that any advertisement targeting children should be free of sugary and fatty food (International Learning Series 5). The United Kingdom has developed numerous restrictions on the advertisement of junk food and on advertisers. In such a situation, the government needs to be strict on the type of content aired by televisions and what the programs communicate, especially programs intended for children. Policies need to be put in place to filter the contents that children consume. Parents also play a role in ensuring their children adopt healthy eating habits (International Learning Series 8). They should supervise and if possible reduce the number of hours their children spend glued to television screens.

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United Kingdom is one of the few countries to have restrictions on junk food advertisements. The policy itself is not flawless, it possesses strengths and certain shortcomings that the government needs to look into. The policy may take time to be effective or fail all together as young people and children are still routinely exposed to junk food advertisements. The policy makers may have forgotten to consider that children and young people watch a wide range of shows on TV, and by restricting the advertisements to certain channels only may not be the solution to this problem. Certain family programs, popular with both adults and children, classified as adult programs like Xfactor and the Simpsons still show these adverts, and the children get to see them too.

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After the introduction of these restrictions to certain times, these channels increased the number of advertisements aired at other times. The government should make sure that the body in charge of implementation of codes should be recognized as an official body to improve its functionality. The slow pace of conducting investigations. The body, although established nearly a decade ago, is not as efficient as it ought to be. It protects the interests of the citizens by investigating the type of content channels air and determine whether or not they are fir to be shown to children. The problem is, however, that it takes them an awfully long time to come into a conclusion as to whether or not an advertisement violates the codes.

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In conclusion, the media plays a huge role in children’s dietary preferences. Children have a tendency of copying what they see, as such, these advertisements should be regulated. Although parents play a role in what their children eat or prefer to eat, media plays an even bigger role. It is the role of the government, parents, and non-governmental organizations to ensure children are protected from the exposure of such content. Although countries like Australia and United Kingdom have put policies in place to deal with advertisements of unhealthy food, these nations are still faced with similar challenges like those of United States and India who have not yet put such policies in place. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829711/. International Learning Series.

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