(CARLSBAD, CA) – Advertisers are targeting your kids. And if you think they’re just trying to convince your kid to ask for the newest PlayStation upgrade, then think again. Television and Internet advertisements are leading kids to ingest foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition, such as sweets, fast foods, and soft drinks.
The problem is real. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the number of overweight children in America has doubled in the past two decades, and the rate has tripled for adolescents. And while the reasons for the obesity epidemic in America are numerous, one that can’t be overlooked is the role of the media. The Mayo Clinic estimates that children spend an estimated eight hours per day using media such as television, radios, and the Internet. With all this screen time, our kids actually view more than 40,000 commercials per year.
So, what’s the big deal about so many commercials? The problem is that our kids see constant references to food. One-third of these references are foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition. Whether it’s early morning cartoons or prime-time family-friendly television, there are constant advertisements targeting kids to purchase, or ask mom and dad to purchase, high-caloric foods. Kids even make up their own demographic in the marketing plans of all major advertising agencies.
As a parent, you can counteract the messages sent by mass media. But, you have to be proactive. Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc. offers a few tips to help save your kids from the obesity epidemic:
Lead by example. Be a role model. If you are moving and exercising, then your kids will do the same. Take a walk after dinnertime or join a nearby fitness facility. Junior Jazzercise is also a great outlet for kids to participate in a fun fitness program.
Start early. If you help your kids to adopt healthy habits at an earlier age, then it’s more likely that they will maintain this healthy lifestyle as they grow. Teach your children to eat healthier foods in appropriate portion sizes and to limit sedentary activity from the start.
Limit your kids screen time. One poll reports that 70 percent of 6-8 year olds who watch a lot of television actually believe that fast foods are more nutritious than home-cooked foods. Set a maximum time limit each day for both television and Internet usage.
Enlist the help of your community. Talk to your child’s school about what health curricula is being offered. Volunteer with the PTA and see what healthy activities you and other parents can bring to your children’s school day.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.