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How Television Ads and Toys in Kids Meals Are Threatening Children’s Health

How Television Ads and Toys in Kids Meals Are Threatening Children’s Health

According to research conducted by Nickelodeon in 2013, the average American child under nine watches 35 hours of television weekly, or the equivalent of a full workweek in France. With all that screen time, children are exposed to a plethora of advertisements for anything from toys to toothpaste. A whopping half of all of those advertisements are food-related. According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, children under eight see 12 food advertisements per day, or 4,380 ads each year.

Click here for the Unhealthiest Fast-Food Kid's Meals slideshow.

Just as public health advocates demanded tobacco companies cease using cartoons in the advertisement of cigarettes in the late 1990s, many are concerned about the impact child-directed food advertisements have on children’s health. The obesity epidemic has been attributed to both the shift towards a sedentary lifestyle, including more TV time, and increased consumption of fast and processed foods. In 2006, Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative urged food manufacturers to only advertise healthy products to kids and cease all advertisement to those under six. Unfortunately, there has been little improvement in the near decade since the Council of Better Business Bureaus started the effort.

A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that child-directed fast food advertisements influenced families to visit those restaurants more frequently. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth University, looked at fast food television ads from 2009. Using a database, they compiled all of the advertisements that aired nationally that year, and found that two nationally recognized fast food chains, Burger King and McDonalds, engaged in child-directed advertisements. Seventy-nine percent of ads from those chains aired on just four children’s networks.

The researchers surveyed 100 children between the ages of three and seven and one of their parents. They asked parents whether their children watched each of the four children’s networks, if their children requested to visit either of the two chains, if their children collected toys from those chains, and how often the family visited those restaurants. According to their findings, 54 percent of all children requested visits to at least one of the chains and 29 percent of the children collected toys. Of those children that collected toys, 83 percent requested visits to at least one or both of the restaurants. Finally, 37 percent of parents reported more frequent visits to the two fast food chains as a result of child-directed ads.

Despite the small size of the sample, this study demonstrates that child-directed fast food ads, especially those involving toys, influence families to visit the fast food chains featured. Additionally, it suggests that children’s food preferences may be shaped simply by a desire for the toy. Though the food industry has taken few steps to address this issue, parents can do their part to protect their children’s health. “For now,” the lead author of the study, Dr. Jennifer Emond, said, “our best advice to parents is to switch their child to commercial-free TV programming to help avoid pestering for foods seen in commercials.”

The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow Daily Meal editorial staff Dan Myers.


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Worried about Lyme disease? Here’s how to protect your kids from ticks

Lyme disease is scary, and kids are particularly at risk. We talked to an expert about how to keep kids safe from tick bites.

Last July, a day after a family outing to the zoo, Crystal Cochrane of Edmonton was pulling five-year-old Mikayla’s hair into a ponytail when she felt a small sesame-seed-sized bump at her daughter’s hairline, near the nape of her neck. When combing didn’t dislodge it, Crystal looked closer and discovered a tick had firmly attached itself to Mikayla’s head. “I panicked,” Crystal recalls. “We had heard about Lyme disease, and knew it was bad.” Wanting to know for certain whether the bite might make Mikayla sick, the Cochranes headed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital, with the tick (which they had carefully removed and placed in a sealed container) in hand.

Lyme disease, an illness that’s transmitted via the bite of an infected deer tick, is relatively rare but has been on the rise in recent years in Canada (from 144 cases in 2009 to 1,487 in 2018), with children between five and nine years being more commonly affected than most other age groups. If not treated in its early stages, Lyme disease can cause problems, such as meningitis, temporary weakness of muscles in the face and arthritis. A very small proportion of ticks also carry Powassan virus, which can cause inflammation in the brain and serious neurological symptoms. Only about 25 cases have occurred in Canada in more than 50 years, but with ticks on the rise, experts are worried the population of infected ticks may also grow. So what do you need to know to protect your kids?


Watch the video: How Advertising Rewires Kids Brains (October 2021).