Increasing Obesity One Commercial at a Time

It is absolutely no secret that obesity is currently a major problem in our country, specifically among the younger demographic. In fact, a recent study revealed that a little more than 31% of children ages 10-17 are either overweight or obese. This statistic is certainly frightening and is an indicator that our society is not doing a good job of promoting health and wellness, especially in regards to our youth. Although preaching to young children to exercise and eat healthy may sometimes be ineffective, it certainly does not help that large fast food chains are targeting the adolescent demographic to buy their products. This poses the question of whether it is moral/ethical for these large corporations to target these young people, due to their ability to be easily influenced and persuaded.

study conducted in late 2012 revealed that marketing expenses for the fast food industry as a whole totaled nearly $4.6 billion in the calendar year. The report, which is known as 'Fast Food FACTS 2013', also brought to light some frightening statistics with regards to marketing to children. According to the report, children and teens ages 10-17 saw on average 3-5 fast food commercials per day, a significant increase from the 5-10 age demographic. A measly 1% of all 'kids meals' advertised met the nutritional recommendations that experts deem healthy for children. 


Fast food corporations are trying to establish brand loyalty at an extremely young age which is frightening considering the astonishing obesity problem in this country. Because the young brain is so easily influenced, it is possible young consumers could fall into an 'obesity hole' so deep that it may be difficult to climb out of, only enhancing the overall problem in this country. Astonishingly, those who are able to recognize fast food brands at a young age are TWICE as likely to be obese! 

Obviously, the goal of any corporation is to make revenue, which marketing plays an extremely important role in. However, I believe fast food corporations could undoubtedly do a better job in regards to their marketing schemes where children may not be as easily persuaded to eat unhealthy and possibly start the slippery slope track to obesity. It should be our goal as adults to help educate the youth on the dangers of poor dietary habits and lack of proper exercise in order to help improve the obesity problem. 


These facts that you point out are astonishing and utterly disgusting to me. Obesity is a huge problem in America and around the world and I think that fast food restaurants play a big role in that. I think that the only way this problem will be resolved is by these companies taking the initiative and selling healthier foods especially to younger children. Due to the fact that you said that kids are more easily influenced, they should give fruit or yogurt in their kids meals instead of fries which would play an important role in kids getting used to eating healthy.

Even with the little extra time I have to watch TV in college, I still constantly see fast food commercials. I have to admit, they look delicious, so thank god I have the strength to resist. It's a shame that many Americans cannot. America has been making such a fuss about obesity becoming more common, so why don't we do anything about it? Constant TV watching is often linked to obesity, TV watching does nothing but reinforce these restaurants by advertising them 24/7. It's a never ending cycle. I know this is nearly impossible to do because of the huge amount of money is involved in these commercials, but in an ideal world, all fast food commercials would be at least limited, if not eliminated all together. I really think that TV alone is a major factor to obesity. These advertisements make it even worse than it already is.

Michael, I found it very interesting that you used this blog to compare marketing fast food and obesity. The fast food industry is seeing more and more obstacles in order to make revenue. Whether it's their competitors trying to out sell them or the health and wellness organizations try to promote healthier eating. I was an avid buyer of fast food until I got to high school. During my sophomore year, our health teacher played us two documentaries. One was Food Inc. and the other was Supersize me. Food Inc. focused on processed foods, mainly chicken. It showed how artificially the chickens were fed steroids so that they would be larger and could sell quicker. Supersize me was an experiment done by Morgan Spurlock in 2003. For one entire month Morgan had to eat everything McDonald's and if the employee working that day asked if he wanted to supersize, then he had to supersize. This documentary focused on how supersizing and eating fast food can seriously harm ones body. After seeing both of these films, I realized how dangerous it is to put foreign things into our bodies and immediately stopped. If health programs could show these documentaries at younger ages, I feel that they could definitely show some changes in the fast food industry and hopefully in America's health.

This is all very interesting and disturbing to me, and I have noticed it too. You cannot turn on the TV and watch a show without seeing dozens of commercials for restaurants. Did you know that, in fact, relating to the marketing aspect you touched upon, the colors red, yellow, and orange make you hungry? As you can see from your collage picture above, the restaurants have picked up on this.

Red is linked with impulsiveness or excitement, which make people hungry.

Orange can make people comfortable. You are more likely to eat when comfortable

Yellow makes you feel better and optimistic about that huge burger meal you're about to order ;)

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