FAST TRACK TO FAT: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ADVERTISING ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractFast food marketing campaigns target children as young as 3 years old with the use of appealing images, TV advertising, toys, and play areas. As children grow older, peer pressure and social media advertising become the typical methods of drawing them in. Psychologically, it has been shown that brand imprinting and the “mere exposure” effect greatly contribute to the effectiveness of fast food advertising, and that the earlier children are exposed to this advertising, the more potent the effects. The consequences of fast food’s popularity include a pronounced increase in childhood obesity as well as poor cardiovascular health from a young age. The high-calorie, low-nutrient food is spiked with unnecessary sodium, sugars and fats, all of which lead to poor health outcomes for children. However, the prevalence of healthier choices on menus and increased parental concern are some of the positive responses to this health epidemic.