The food industry has been blamed by many for the increase in childhood obesity by targeting the child demographic in marketing. The food products marketed often are deemed unhealthy because of their high calorie, high fat, and high sugar contents. It’s the 21st century and junk food has gone global. Whether it’s for good or for bad, junk foods are found everywhere, in grocery and convenience stores, fast-food restaurants etc. Junk food generally refers to foods that contribute lots of calories but little nutritional value. Children need nutrition the most as they are in their budding stage. The most essential thing for their growth is nutrition. One of the problems with junk foods is that they are low in satiation value, due to which people don’t tend to feel as full when they eat them — which can lead to overeating. Thus obesity in children is one of the concerns these days. Another problem is that junk food tends to replace other, more nutritious foods. For example when children drink lots of soda, they are substituting it for low-fat dairy or other healthful beverages like fruit juice or other health drink. When they are snacking on chips and cookies, they’re usually not loading up on fruits and vegetables.

Popular snack foods are usually commercially prepared and packaged, like chips, cheese puffs, candy bars, snack cakes, and cookies. The contribution of snack food to the calories we eat should not be underestimated. Between 1977 and 1996, the contribution of snack calories to total calories for American children between 2 and 5 years old increased by 30%, according to an article published in the Chilean medical journal, Revista Medica de Chile.

While marketing during children’s television shows is heavily regulated, young audiences are being targeted through other media, such as computer games, mobile phones and social networks. The WHO, the UN’s public health body, is summoning tougher regulation across Europe on the advertising of fatty, salty and sugary foods to children amid fears it is contributing to the obesity problem, The Guardian reported. We should understand that consuming junk food will only lead to unhealthy lifestyle, affecting health of children.

Mounilina Biswas

SCIT MBA ITBM (2013-15)

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