Headline, February28, 2014

"' OH! 'O' STUDENTS > :


OBESITY !!! "'

First Lady Michelle Obama  -just last September-  joined by Rosita, a turquoise Latina muppet, and Elmo,  a shaggy red one, announced that Sesame Street's puppets:

"'Would promote fruit and vegetables rather than sugary and fatty fare; Cookie Monster may need to fund a new job"'.

The First Lady's fight against childhood obesity has several fronts. She calls it :  '' Let's Move! ''. But marketing is an important one.

Just next, she convened the first White House meeting on marketing food to children and got straight to the  heart of the rising threat. Their preferences  ''are being shaped by the marketing campaigns you all create'', she told the assembled executives:

''And that's where the problem comes in.''

To market anything that  that might appeal to young consumers is to risk a scolding, Advertising entices children to drink and smoke, makes them fat and sexualises them them early, its critics allege.

To tout even wholesome products to children, some claim, is to exploit their naivety and thus to deceive them.

Crusaders, like Mrs Obama have helped embarrass companies. Coca Cola said in May that it would  not  advertise to children younger than 12 anywhere in the world.

Last year Disney promised not to promote junk food on television programmes for children. Such gestures make the best of an increasingly constraining climate. Some of the many restrictions on the marketing of tobacco and alcohol were imposed with youngsters in mind.

In America and the European Union big food manufacturers follow self-imposed codes of conduct on marketing to children. These are to be tightened. Some European countries impose stricter regimes.

Britain bans ads on television and radio of food high in fat, salt and sugar to children under 16. Sweden and Norway outlaw all televisions ads to youngsters. Quebec prohibits ads of any sort directed at children.     

PINNING DOWN how advertising might harm children is very very  tricky. One line of inquiry studies its effect in the lab.

Such experiments suggest that students/children eat more in response to food promotion.

British children who saw footage of Gary Lineker, who helps advertise Walker crisps, doing his other job as football commentator ate more crisps than a control group.

Other types of study try to capture marketing's effects on whole societies.

An American one found that young people who saw one additional alcohol advert per month  -beyond the average of 23-  drank 1% more alcohol. And some research connects media consumption and weight.

A  2005 study of teenagers in 34 countries found in 22 of them a correlation between their body mass index and they amount of television they watched.

The Truth is that Evidence is Thin: Because such correlations do not prove that advertising causes Obesity. Food and beverage producers have a point when they claim it is one factor among many.

But still one to deal with : " We should be tackling all the causes of obesity, however small," maintains Emma Boyland, a psychologist at the University of Liverpool, one of the authors of the Gary Lineker study.

Some radical critics argue that any sort of marketing aimed at children damages them. It is wrong to treat children as  " economic objects " , says Bill Jeffrey of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest:

A group that campaigns for good nutrition in America and Canada. Young children do not grasp that they are being advertised to:

Marketing to them is thus inherently deceptive. It undermines  "creative play", which stunts development and ultimately and threatens democracy, insists Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an American group.

The Honour and the Post will continue at regular intervals in the future.

With respectful dedication to the Students of the whole Planet Earth.  See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"'Smashing The Cookie Monster"'

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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