Food Advertising

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One of the major challenges faced by public health in developed world today is childhood obesity, and this is predominant in Canada and the United States. The level of childhood obesity in Canada has increased enormously over the past decades. It was reported that over 26 per cent of Canadian children between ages of 6 to 17 years are overweight or obese which is approximately two times higher the rates three decades ago (Kent, Dubois, & Wanless, 2013). There are various chronic health problems that are related to childhood obesity which seems insurmountable to Canadian health care system. Type II diabetes, coronary heart disease and hypertension are reported to be the main contributing factors to the total direct cost (approximately 2.4 per cent of the total health care costs) of obesity in Canada ( Ball & McCargar, 2003). Studies have demonstrated that there is an association between advertising of foods and beverages and childhood obesity. They contend that advertisements directed to children influences their food preferences, consumption habits, and purchase requests (Kent, Dubois, & Wanless, 2012). Vast majority of these advertisements are foods and beverages with low nutrients, high fat diet, sugar, and sodium which are usually marketed to children on television and internet (Kent et al., 2012). Since internet is now ubiquitous, food and beverage companies find advertising on internet more appealing due to the fact that it is cost effective in relative to television marketing (Kent et al., 2013). Similarly, it was also reported that 30 per cent of grades 6 to 12 children spend over 2 hours of their leisure time on computers every day (Kent et al., 2013). The World Health Organization (WHO) realizes that childhood obesity i... ... middle of paper ... ...bois, L., & Wanless, A. (2012). A nutritional comparison of foods and beverages marketed to children in two advertising policy environments. Obesity, 20(9), 1829-1837. Kent, M.P, Dubois, L., & Wanless, A. (2011). Self-regulation by industry of food marketing is having little impact during children's preferred television. International Journal Of Pediatric Obesity, 6(5/6),401-408. doi:10.3109/17477166.2011.606321 Raine, K. D., Lobstein, T., Landon, J., Kent, M. P., Pellerin, S., Caulfield, T., ... & Spence, J. C. (2013). Restricting marketing to children: Consensus on policy interventions to address obesity. Journal of public health policy, 34(2), 239-253. Public Health Agency of Canada.(2012). Our Health Our Future: A National dialogue on Healthy Weights Dialogue Report. Retrieved from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/ohof-nsna/summ-somm-eng.php#a1
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