Heart Choices: Fast Food and Kids -->

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Fast Food and Kids

Childhood obesity has become much more common in the US. But should fast food ads be banned?

A new study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research and funded by the National Institutes of Health claims that a ban on fast food advertising to children would cut the national obesity rate by as much as 18%. They measured the number of fast food ads that children watched. And their data showed that there was a greater impact on boys than girls.

This was the largest study to directly tie childhood obesity to fast food advertising on television.

So, what do you think? Should the government be able to regulate the fast food ads shown on TV? Or are parents the ones who choose what their children eat? Do you really know what your children are eating at all meals?
Debbie Petras
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  1. Like everything in our life there must be a balance. So, a progressive society needs modern and democratic laws and rules. The answer is very simple I think.

  2. I hope this doesn’t ‘stir the pot’ too much - it's a little long, but I feel like I need to say this…

    I think eating fast food largely comes from the traditions of the family. If the family eat fast food every week then that habit will most likely stay with the kids when they grow up.

    From what I see in the western world, parents seem to want everyone else to teach their kids except themselves: teachers, advertisers, governments etc – but I’ve always believed that part of having children is being able to share the knowledge and joy of your own life experiences - to teach them yourself. Why are we so eager to push our kids out the door and let everyone else teach them?

    Kids want to be wanted – the most amazing gift you can give a child is yourself – meaning your time, your attention, your teaching, and your appreciation – this is what love is.

    The reason why kids do things like eat fast food is because they haven’t been taught properly, especially by their parents. Just saying ‘don’t eat fast food it will make you fat and unhealthy’ over and over again is not enough. This statement means nothing. This is not how you teach a child.

    To teach a child about healthy eating habits you need to establish a family tradition of healthy eating. You need to spend time cooking with your children, going shopping together, talking about foods, finding adventure in tasting new things, eating together as a family – this teaching needs to become a part of family life.

    Learning important lessons for adult life will take a whole childhood to learn. Building healthy eating habits, work ethics, charity, social consciousness etc through everyday family experience is the most powerful teaching of all.

    If we don’t have time, the energy or the desire to do this kind of teaching (everyday) – why did we have kids in the first place?

    Just some (pent up) thoughts...lol.

  3. Debbie,

    I don't think banning the advertising will do anything at all to discourage kids from eating out or adults for that matter.

    L-Jay really has a great and valid point.

    It's a choice we make as parents and a choice the children then make for themselves one day as to what is the better and most healthier decision for them.

    Eating out all the time is not quality family time. Eating fast is not eating healthy. I was not taught these things as a child because my Mom was a single Mom who worked three jobs to support her children...so now I struggle to understand cooking healthy, etc.

    But I have a determined spirit and a close walk with the Lord and I choose to do better by my family with my choices. So anyway, advertising does not sway me...and I am pretty sure that my husband and I talk with our son enough to help him with his choices to hopefully prepare him to make good ones for himself and his family one day.

    Sorry if this is so long.

    ((hugs)) to you today!

  4. Thank you all for the thought you put into your comments. This is definitely a topic to consider and think about.

    Philip- You're always so kind and I can see you love balance.

    L-Jay- I know you are a great and caring mother and Lilu is going to be taught well. You're a great example for her. I love that you feel very strongly about sharing not only your knowledge but also your joy. You take parenting seriously. Love it!!!

    Debra- Advertising bombards us and I guess we take it for granted. But I do think that parents are the ones to teach by word and also example. I love your choice to try to do a better job than maybe you were given. Hugs back to you!

  5. If the government intervened to ban ads in any way from TV, then the industry would move elsewhere. It would have to do that. No business can sell its product without marketing and advertising of some sort. Just look at your gas pump. Aren't you seeing the video ads there now? We're bombarded.

    Parents must take more responsibility with the childhood obesity epidemic. Schools must take more responsibility. Children can learn to eat better and exercise more. They just need to have that reinforced. Limit the number of hours they can play video games, use the cell phones, text, etc. What keeps them sitting in chairs? Get them up. Kids from previous generations were outside playing more. Kids today are not. Schools have limited recess. It's very difficult for children to work off the energy they're putting into their bodies. It's not the fault of fast food. It's our culture, in general. The obesity epidemic should be a wake-up call that we're doing something wrong as a whole.

    The solution is to encourage ways to get active again, to eat more at home, as families, again, to spend our time wisely. The solution rests with the individual, not with placing blame.

    My two cents,
    Jackie Dishner

  6. I think it is sad first of all that parents don't know what their kids are eating and second of all that kids are allowed to watch so much television that they are constantly filled with images of fast food places.

    I wonder what age children we're talking about in this study. What age does a child get to pick the restaurant for the family, ya know? Just some thoughts I had after I read.

    Very interesting study, Debbie! Thanks for sharing! Have a good weekend.

  7. I think the government already regulates way too many things. I think they should let the parents be in charge of what the kids eat.

  8. Debbie:

    Thanks so much for your comments on both of my posts today! :)

    I'm glad you found me too...because now I've found you. I love what you blog about. Health and fitness are such a passion of mine.

    And childhood obesity...wow, talk about a topic that needs to be addressed.

    Regarding advertising, it's like anything else. Certainly, it's directed toward children. But it is the parents' responsibility to say "no" when appropriate. Currently, as I type this, my kids are watching TV and getting bombarded with toy commercials. My son wants every single thing he sees. Do I blame him? Of course not. Do I get him everything he asks for? Of course not.

    Kids will eat what you serve them. Bottom line. If it isn't served, a child can't eat it.

    I also take the time to talk about nutrition every single day in our home. I teach my kids to read labels and we talk about junky food and healthy food all the time. I'm trying to equip my kids to make wise choices when they grow up and are on their own.

    Sandy Cooper

  9. Bike Lady (Jackie)- Thanks for visiting and joining in on this discussion. Good point about gov't intervention. I do believe parents need to teach kids to make healthier choices and to model that behavior too.

  10. Wow! Hot topic. Huh?

    I believe the world offers all kinds of things that are not good for our children. It is our job as parents to help teach them how to make good choices.

    I have come to the conclusion that I need a cook to prepare good, yummie, healthy food for me and my family! Wouldn't that be a dream?

  11. Hi Deb:

    Fellow Iowa Ave. member here. I do think an advertising ban might make a bit of a dent, but it'll never happen. Unless fast food is deemed illegal for kids under 18, like tobacco, I don't see anyone can supress free speech. Even the hard liquor companies are now back to advertising on cable networks.

    Intensive nutrition education is the key.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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