Advertisers to blame for childhood obesity in US according to American Academy of Pediatrics
According to a new statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) the amount of time kids spend watching media and the targeted junk food ads as contributed significantly to childhood obesity in the US.
MLive posted a story today announcing the new statement by the AAP, which provides a pretty good summary of the findings and ends with a list of actions steps the association is calling for:
• A ban on junk-food advertising during TV shows geared for children.
• A ban on interactive ads and games for children and teens through cell phones, digital TV and other media.
• Federal funding for research into the effects of media use on children.
• More ads and video games promoting healthy food choices.
The action suggestions are a welcomed contribution to the fight against childhood obesity and they are important for a greater understanding on what role media has in the lives of children.
It would have been useful if the MLive writer had talked to the local TV stations to get a response to this new study from the AAP, especially since they all air lots of ads for unhealthy junk foods during children’s TV programs. We contacted channel’s 8, 13 and 17 on this issue, but have not received a response from any of the stations.
In addition, the MLive story does not provide other resources available for parents, teachers and community members concerned about this issue. There is an excellent study on how food and beverage marketers target children from the Center for Digital Democracy and a great toolkit for advocates from the Berkley Media Studies Group. For educators there are great resources to teach media literacy about junk food ads, particularly the lessons plans you can access from the Media Awareness Network.
Lastly, it would have been useful for those with MLive to talk with area pediatrics in West Michigan in order to put a local spin on the issue or the group Stop Targeting Our Kids (STOK) who have been confronting issues around media and children for the past 2 years.