Junk food marketing – how it affects children

Today’s youth in Thailand face a startling reality. Their life expectancy may be shorter than their parents, largely due to health issues stemming from excessive junk food consumption. Over 39 million children under 5 are overweight, fueling a rapid obesity epidemic. A significant contributor is junk food marketing, targeting children who lack the cognitive skills to discern advertising intent. Marketers exploit this vulnerability, spending billions to shape future consumers. Fast food chains alone spent $5 billion on youth advertising in 2019, according to CyberGhost.

What is Junk food?

Quick meals or less nutritious options encompass a broad classification for various edibles abundant in calories due to their high fat, sugar, and salt content, yet lacking in essential nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Nonetheless, quick meals hold significant allure for the majority of youngsters owing to their palatability, relatively economical cost, and the convenience of being instantly available without the need for any culinary efforts. Given that children often lack awareness regarding the adverse health effects of such fare, it can develop into a rather addictive habit.

Related news

The Impact of Ads on Kids

Promotions for less nutritious snacks may lead youngsters to opt for unhealthy food choices in as little as half an hour following exposure to promotional materials, as indicated by a study disclosed in the July 2016 edition of the periodical Obesity Reviews.

A team from McMaster University in Canada scrutinised 17 investigations probing the impact of marketing for less wholesome food and beverages. They discovered that such advertisements resulted in heightened calorie consumption and a preference for less healthy food among children shortly after exposure. Behnam Sadeghirad, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University, notes, “Our comprehensive analysis revealed a significant increase in dietary intake in children exposed to advertising for unhealthy dietary choices, occurring either during or immediately after exposure.”

And it’s not limited to television advertisements; promotional strategies encompass product wrapping featuring superheroes and beloved characters for children, along with video games, online content, magazines, and various promotional materials. The research also highlights the potential impact of these advertisements on younger individuals.

Junk food marketing - how it affects children | News by Thaiger

Tips For Thai Families To Minimise the Effect of Junk Food Marketing

As a parent, you have the ability to implement specific measures and actions to safeguard your children from the impact of marketing related to less nutritious food items:

  • Limit screen exposure. A key strategy to lessen your child’s exposure to TV ads involves reducing TV time, which also correlates with improved health and academic performance.
  • Share nutritious meals as a family. Beyond just avoiding junk food ads, eating healthily together fosters better food choices and enhances communication, strengthening bonds with your children. Regular family dinners can notably enhance nutrition, mental acuity, and academic achievement.
  • Discuss ad messages and motives. Educating children about advertising empowers them to discern truth from exaggeration, cultivating critical thinking skills that endure into adulthood.
  • Address other contributors to children’s health. Encourage physical activity by engaging in outdoor play with your kids if they’re spending excessive time in sedentary pursuits.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles