Every TV presentation must have a break with advertisements promoting different products and services. The ads on fast foods have occupied almost every TV station as different restaurants try to market their products. The fact is that majority of people who take fast foods have high chances of becoming obese. A peer-reviewed journal indicated a survey conducted by BMC Public Health suggested that the high number of advertisements promoting soft drinks and fast food have led to more are residents becoming overweight. Most of these foods contain high fat and cholesterol values that contribute to overweight and introduction of weight related diseases like obesity. In addition, excessive consumption of fast food is not only dangerous but, but also promotes a dangerous lifestyle and culture (Scherer 2-3). Generally, fast food ads could promote childhood obesity which is a significant health problem hence; the government needs to regulate the number and intensity of such ads.
Statistics show that people today are too chubby to rely on fast food compared to past times. Daily consumption of fast food decreases the life span hence people today die younger than they should apart from living an obese life. America has termed fast food as one of the major public-interest health threat apart from substance abuse and smoking. Looking at the composition of fast foods one does not need to get into a physician to understand the dangers he or she has introduced in the body. The composition of fast food is meat carcinogens, which contains high levels of calories and saturated fat. These substances are the principal source of trans-fat that causes obesity. Doctors claim that obesity is a significant health problem and the public should be made aware of factors that lead to overeating of processed food (Rivero).
On the other hand, dangers of fast food consumption have forced the Federal Government to introduce policies regarding food advertising on television, outdoor ads, radios, and any other means of advertisement. Since marketing gets people to consume more, most organizations dealing with fast food take their advertisements to low-income earner and minority areas in order to give them low cost eating alternatives. A study was carried out at two densely populated locations in Los Angeles and New Orleans. The areas were selected due to high population of dwellers with each location having more than 2,000 people hence; more outdoor fast food ads were located all over the area. From the research a correlation between fast food ads and the rate of obesity was found to be positive. This was a clear evidence that the more the fast food ads the higher the chances of more people becoming obese.
The problem also affects kids since that are the most prone to eating unhealthy food. The effects are more for kids coming from rich families compared to those from poor backgrounds. A research conducted by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine concluded that even if children from poor families have poor access to health care services and eat unbalanced diets, there are healthier than their counterparts from rich backgrounds. This is because children from poor background eat fewer processed food that are healthier than fast food eaten by the rich people. The difference although does not last for long because as the time goes on, children from poor backgrounds acquire the unhealthy eating habits and join their counterparts in increasing weight and reducing their days on earth.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also has confirmed childhood obesity as the most serious challenge facing public health sectors worldwide. WHO 2010 statistics show that more than 42 million children under five years of age were overweight, and the figure has gone up as per today. In addition, eating of fast food during childhood could lead into many complications at adulthood. For instance, children who are obese have higher chances of growing into obese adults leading to development of chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes. WHO accepts the challenge of eating fast food has affected even the policy makers because of high rate of marketing and advertising that has a lot of influence on people’s choices of food and consumption patterns. In order to avoid the challenge, WHO introduced a policy intervention aimed at promoting strategies encouraging healthy eating habits. Various organizations have also called upon the government to limit on marketing of fast food but, the government receives a lot of revenues from such ads making the claims baseless.
Advertising influences behavior by persuading and manipulating consumers or concentrating economic and cultural power at the hands of few individuals. As such, people are forced by circumstances to believe what an advertisement says even if it is harmful. In addition, advertising works to affect purchasing decision of a consumer and no any amount of warning could deter a person from going for the advertised product due to curiosity. Many findings carried out oversees indicate that most television ads target children. A study carried out by American Kaiser Family Foundation in 2007 claims that almost half of all commercial in children channels advertise food, and none of these ads promote eating of fruits and vegetables but concentrate on junk food (sweets, snacks and fast food) (159-162).
The Federal Government also plays a significant role in ensuring all food advertisement adheres to Nutrient Content Claims and key regulations. The regulations affect producers in two ways. Firstly, they govern nutrient claims hence the advertiser must include the correct nutrient composition of the product and the possible dangers t consumers. Secondly, the regulations affect health claims because the public health sector has its own policies that manufacturers and producers should adhere to. Despite all these regulations and policies, producers still place ads that do not comply. The high rate of corruption and ignorance of public health officers costs the nation a lot of cash in treatment of ailments that could be avoided. In addition, the high competition experienced in today’s firms especially the fast food business calls for more commercial ads to be introduced. This seems to be a continuous problem that can only be solved by individual avoiding unhealthy eating habit (Ippolito 7-8).
It is true that watching television is not a weight-loss strategy. The numerous ads for fast food that always act as a breath-taking strategy after an episode influences children’s eating habits, and contribute to childhood obesity. The discussion above shows that individuals also contribute to unhealthy eating habits despite many warnings from nutritionists. Moreover, the issue of marketing has become controversial as the producer wants to make big sales while the regulatory body wants to limit the number and intensity of the advertisements. Heavy fines should be introduced to people who do not adhere to the federal regulations in order to have a healthy nation in the years to come. Truly, fast food advertisements promote unhealthy eating habits.
Gantz, W., Schwartz, N., Angelini, J. and Rideout, V. Food for thought: television food advertising to children in the United States, Kaiser Family Foundation, 2007. Available at:
http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/7618.pdfHefferan, Elisabeth, and Marnita Gardner.Obesity why are we getting so fat?. Mount Kisco, N.Y.: Human Relations Media. 2006. Print.
Ippolito Pauline, M. Food Advertising and Labeling: Regulatory issues and Evidence. Washington: Bureau of Economics Federal Trade Commission. 2003.
Rivero, E. Outdoor fast food ads could promote obesity, study finds. 2013. Available at:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/outdoor-fast-food-ads-could-promote-242881.aspxScherer, Lauri S.. Fast food. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.
World Health Organization (WHO), Childhood overweight and obesity. 2010. Available at:http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood/en/index.htmlWorld Health Organization. Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health: Childhood overweight and obesity. 2013. Available at: