Dulguun Bayaraa

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We need stricter regulations on commercials about unhealthy foods on TV. Replacing those with ads about healthy food will make a difference.

As a concerned college student and a sister to a 6 year old brother, I wrote a research essay in a class a while ago on how childhood is being excessively commercialized.

I researched some data, and found out that
The amount of commercials displayed on TV is literally longer than the actual show that children watch on TV. From those commercials, food commercials dominate, and they are only about unhealthy foods, candies, and other junk foods. Most children in the U.S. aged 2-18 spend a good amount of time watching TV everyday. From those, 2-8 year old kids don't even have the reasoning skills to understand that commercials are meant to sell products to them. So the kids are very vulnerable to those excessive unhealthy commercials.
Then I went on to research about the restrictions, and policies on commercials that are being directed to our children. There are hardly any regulations about advertising unhealthy items to children in the U.S. I researched about other countries. Canada, Australia, and the U.K. are doing much better jobs to stop those bad commercials to reach to our susceptible little children.

Basically what I'm trying to say here is that regulating commercials that are being directed to children will be one way to lessen our problem. Government need to ban certain kind of commercials, or set a criteria for the commercials. Furthermore, it will be effective to utilize TV as a tool to educate children about healthy food. Replacing the unhealthy food commercials with short blurbs about healthy food will serve as a great tool to educate our children about food.

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    Mar 28 2011: My only problem with your thought-provoking, well researched idea, is your proposal that the government needs to do something. How is it that government has become our mother? What is happening to the individual and critical thinking skills? I fear we're becoming automatons.

    Parents, of all economic levels, are capable of keeping small children from watching TV, which it sounds like they might want to do after reading what you have written.
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      Drew B

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      Mar 30 2011: i also agree with this greatly
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        Mar 31 2011: well said
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        Mar 31 2011: yeah, it is good to live without risks and responsibilities.
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        Apr 2 2011: Parent control is available for anyone of us who has a
        cable tv or an internet linked computer to implement censorship at
        home. You do not need to ask for government to do that.
        Free choice is much better than government fascist
        solutions. Repeting what I wrote before: Government should only provide security and guarantee legal process to anyone of us. When you say that government should provide welfare, you are forgetting about who will pay for that. It is a shame living with our hands in other people´s pockets. That is not welfare, it´s stealing. I do believe you can take care of your brother, as you mentioned you do. Like you, most of americans care about their kids. I would never trust on government, which is incompetent, to educate, feed or provide healthcare to any of my three sons. Government is a cold and faceless entity. What they give you with one hand, take from you with another. Besides taking your money or somebody else´s money, they take also your freedom and dignity. You are undervaluating what parents or relatives can do. Look yourself. If you can, why others can´t? It´s time to call back responsability to the individual about we care most...those who we love.
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        Apr 13 2011: Frederic, Governments in many Western countries have banned cigarette advertisements on television and in many magazines, while increasing taxes on that product to "reduce cigarette use" as the stated objective. But how effective has that strategy been? Sure Government coffers have seen some increase in revenue due to the larger take on a pack of smokes, but many people have just switched to other means of ingesting tobacco products.
        Please see the attached link http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/299/22/2629.full
        I am not so sure that banning cigarette ads had the desired effect as perhaps an honest educational program aimed at informing the potential smoker and the habitual user to the dangers of long term cigarette use and it's addictive properties.
        Let informed and responsible parents play their rightful role of educating children in making good decisions about their health by offering good food choices on the dinner table and engaging them in conversation about the issues of the day, like health, smoking, sexuality, et al.
        BMG - http://brians-say.blogspot.com/
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      Mar 31 2011: @Lynn, nicely put.
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      Mar 31 2011: The junk food industry spends $10+ billion dollars a year in marketing. It's not just commercials, it's pervasive in our environment. Viewing the government as being overly parental in this case is incorrect in my view. It is their responsibility to ensure that citizens have equitable conditions for making healthy choices. In the end its about personal responsibility and society's responsibility.
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      Mar 31 2011: Lynn, there is no means of denying the parents' responsibilities here. They should be the most responsible of all, however, I am trying to say that the pressure shouldn't be wholly on the parents.

      Its not about my brother, or this one particular kid whose parents are being irresponsible. It's about the government putting some thoughts about public health, especially children's health. After all, children is our future. While other countries take some action to protect their children, why can't United States do similar things?
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        Mar 31 2011: The government is doing so. From the White House's highlighting prevention as an evidence based strategy for public health, tremendous projects are currently under way in communities all of the country. Funded through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars, the Communities' Putting Prevention to Work, is a $500+ million two year initiative to build healthy communities. Already, executive orders have been signed in New York City and Massachussetts creating priorities for healthy food purchasing and limiting junk food and sugar-sweetened beverages. Tremendous efforts are underway to bring new farmer's markets to neighborhoods all over the United States where assistance and incentive programs are available, such as SNAP, Senior Shares, and Veggie Prescriptions--all so that the most vulnerable of us have new ways to access and afford better food.

        Community gardens, school gardens, healthy corner stores, complete streets (built for cars, pedestrians, bicycles, and mass transit initiatives are underway. Raising the bar on the quality of food in schools is happening at a rapid pace. More and more local fruits, veggies, and more are going through our cafeteria lines now than in the last thirty years.

        These are all long-term investments in our communities, states, and territories, that will at least give the healthy choice a fighting chance in a world where special interests and corporate dollars have more effect on our choices than we often understand.
  • Mar 28 2011: By asking government to intervene you are implying society is too stupid to know how to take care of themselves. I concur with Lynn.

    Watching the advertisements is ultimately a voluntary activity, anyways.
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        Mar 30 2011: Parents can choose not to have television or internet in their house. As a responsible parent I would make sure to be the primary regulator in my house, not the government.
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          Mar 31 2011: I believe that TV is one way of connecting to the society. I grew up watching TV (in another country though) and indeed I learned a lot from watching TV. There are a lot of things you can actually learn just by watching TV. My brother learned how to speak English fluently by watching a TV. When kids are learning and it is hard to cut off the television from them. My point is: it is the commercials that are harmful to children.
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      Mar 31 2011: What if they are not saying "you're too stupid to make decisions for yourself," but instead, "we've heard you say that you have to travel two hours round trip by bus to even get to a supermarket. We've heard you say that your easiest options because of current land-zoning and profit strategies, is fast food and junk food from the corner store. What if its because they have heard, "we need help making the healthy choice, the easy choice."
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    Mar 28 2011: I agree completely with your suggestions. It's obvious that not only childhood, but every stage of our lives, is now hyper-commercialized, but as you point out, young children are particularly vulnerable to corporate propaganda since they haven't developed sufficient reasoning skills by an early age. If we ever plan on seriously addressing problems like juvenile obesity, among other things, its necessary that we start critically examining the role played in these trends by commercials, and doing what we can legally to ensure that young kids are shielded from potentially pernicious ones. Going a step further and using television as a medium for encouraging a good diet would be even better.
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    Mar 31 2011: Someone must take responsibility for the purchase of the device (tv), easy-to-use parental controls, lack of home cooked meals, limited health conciousness/physical fitness, and the purchase of advertised goods. Or shall we impose more regulation on those areas too?

    On television, "This instrument can teach, illuminate, yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise its nothing but wires and lights in a box." - Robert R. Murrah

    It's white noise. Turn the damn thing off!
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    Mar 31 2011: So what would your take be on improving media awareness, not for the child per say but for parents who themselves are most likely not as media savvy as they need to be. It somewhat baffles me that intelligent well meaning parents will ensure their child is watching television that is age appropriate yet will ignore the commercials. In no way am I trying to be holier than thou, I just feel many people under estimate the influence of ads. There is a reason though why companies spend millions on research and ads, because they work. It is better to acknowledge this and adjust yourself as needed than to be in denial about the advertiser's sway over us. In fact as a non parent I am often shocked by the fact most parents have their kids watch TV at all (except for movies and maybe one or two favorite show). It just seems so much easier to be a parent If you are not placing your child in front of a box that that is training them to emotionally manipulate you to by crap they neither need nor truly want. Anyway best of luck to you.
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      Mar 31 2011: I agree. Companies hire psychologists to learn about children's cognitions and understanding. Marketers know that kids under age 8 believe in the literal meaning of what's being displayed on TV. So, rather than having marketers taking advantage of it in a bad way, we can be using it the other way around, and displaying ads that promote healthy eating. Setting an accurate awareness to kids could be an easier task than changing the perspectives of parents. Just like writing something on a fresh sheet of paper, rather than trying to erase what's already been written and trying to write new things on it. It would be good if we can educate both parents and children. Although I'm not sure how. I acknowledge that one way could not bring a solution to a problem.But hey, one will not be so much as single. It could have good impacts.
      • Mar 31 2011: Therefore, rather than "regulating" commercials directed at children, wouldn't it make more sense simply to produce countervailing commercials -- using the same knowledge of children's cognition and understanding -- that educate and motivate regarding wholesome foods?

        The question still stands, though, as to whether this is a legitimate role for governments to spend tax money on.
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        Apr 1 2011: Well while I would support using media to disperse useful information about food, I question the idea of "promoting healthy eating," for a few reasons. First off the processed food industry is able to outspend organic farmers, and their friends, both in commercials, and lawyers and lobbyist who will raise the role of government. But more importantly though, I feel the most important way to win this battle is by sidestepping the propaganda all together. Urban gardening is "trendy" not because of any ad campaign, but because people are getting sick, literally and metaphorically due to their diets, and are finding out they have the ability to be healthy. A few garden proudly displayed will set Ronald Mcdonald back millions if they are in the poorer parts of town where he poaches easy prey(poor families). In other words I guess I am trying to say there is no reason not to play this game on your turf. Fighting for restrictions on what we can advertise to children is noble, but it you will be confronted by all sorts of free speech issues and if you win all those trained professionals who are skilled at manipulating children will just have a smaller box to work in, which will only hone their skills. Promoting better eating only makes you a weaker competitor in their game. I say educate, both in how the media , and farm policy effects us. The hard part is to spread the information across the income /education gap where all children can benefit from it.
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    Mar 30 2011: Food is a drug, plain and simple. Food manufacturers take advantage of the fact that humans are biologically wired to seek out the tastes that are hard to come by naturally: sweet and salty, which now translates into candy, soda, and potato chips. And because the next hunting season might not go so well (props to Kurzweil!) we have a powerful inclination to seek out fatty foods.

    Technology may eventually save us from ourselves, e.g., reprogramming the fat receptor gene; in the meantime parents can take control of their children's health in the three following ways:

    1) Shop along the edges of the grocery store - fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy.

    2) Use DVR or get a Roku device to expunge exploitive commercials from children's TV shows. I am glad to see Carl Sagan's idea of "AdNix" finally coming to fruition.

    3) Reduce the number of TVs in the house, read to your kids, get them outside, etc.
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    Mar 30 2011: I agree to have some sort regulations or system (that may or may not be government driven) in place in this era of consumerism and over consumption , so that the exaggerated , misleading or even false claims in advertisement or even in packaging material can't mislead not only kids but also adults and that kind of claims are around us plenty.

    Buying is more emotional process than rational process. Now a days lot of impulse buying happens, in such instatnce no one has enough time to get all the pros and cons of the product than take a buying decision ( for technical products or buying that needs higher investment people tend to give more time to gather information, check pros and cons, though finally again in most cases decision are taken on emotional basis). How much time actually people can afford to pay when they are buying day to day consumable to check all good and bad about product and then buy? Misleading, exaggerated or false claim of advertisement , takes that opportunity of customer / consumer to influence their buying process and get sales.
    It's better to have a system in place, so that chances of getting decieved by sellers becomes lower.
  • Jul 4 2011: For great tasting food produce that even toddlers really enjoy, the pH Miracle and many other people do classes, and teach on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TFog8xfepA

    For free food research: "kudzu recipes" on a search engine. http://www.kudzus.blogspot.com
  • Jul 4 2011: What about having a scale so that people know how much the food they are ingesting weighs, and what the recommended weight to eat is? Some people eat 3 pounds a meal for 9 pounds of food a day! Some eat more and some eat less. A food scale with the recommendation of 2 pounds of food would bring more people to the store and there would be more business. All food would be "diet" food if people didn't overeat. http://heartmdphd.com/

    Instead of selling $10 of merchandise to 1 person, they could be selling $2 to hundreds of people who are not upset with obesity and want to "just taste" food instead of binge.
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    Apr 2 2011: Besides the commercials on TV, we also have to pay attention to the commercials on the Internet. Now the Internet is becoming the main channel for people to get information about the world around ourselves. And the number of the commercials on the Internet is increasing year by year. You can take a look at the things related to commercials on face book or google, you will find them powerful. To establish a good, healthy eating habit for all the people, we have to do more than just on TV commercials
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    Apr 2 2011: I remember well the things I craved as a kid and when it came to food it was all about candy and sweets and fried foods, forget about vegetables and salads. I was born in Guyana/South America and we did not have TV at the time, so where were my choice of food influences coming from? My peers, friends and yes even from within the home and family.

    Personal food tastes are developed in the home and it is there that healthy eating and proper portioning of food ought to be taught. The problem is that most parents have no idea about proper nutrition and healthy food choices for themselves much less there children. I remember well the portions of food that my dad and many other parents doled out to their kids at home, I have done the same to my own children as well. Parents get a sense of comfort and personal gratification when their children manage to eat all of their food and even ask for seconds. It feeds the generosity of their spirits and acknowledges a job well done in cooking a great meal. After all no one wants to spend time cooking then no one eats the food, there is no encouragement in that.

    Commercials certainly do influence, but it is the parents who go out and purchase the calorie laced, unhealthy morsels all too often for their children. Educate parents and the cycle of obesity and childhood diabetic diseases will be altered forever. An informed and educated parent who understands that while it may feel good to see their children satisfied after a meal, whether in the home or else where. It must be the quality of the food, it's nutritional value and it's long term positive contribution to the overall best health of their children that is paramount above all else.

    When these lesson are learned and attitudes have changed, when healthy living and basic nutrition become an integral part of any societies priorities for it's children, commercials will inevitable change as well.
    After all advertisers have children as well.

    BMG - http://brians-say.blogspot.com/
  • Apr 1 2011: I don't think limiting TV commercials would help much. These products are packaged as though they are fun, fun, fun. It's fairly easy to avoid TV commercials, you can't avoid the packaging. Most of my kid's requests for junk food come from what their friends bring in to school, or just a trip to the supermarket.
  • Apr 1 2011: Roberto has nailed it. Free market dictates that I can sell your brother my product. Parents and peers need to educate and dictate what your brother buys and eats. I believe a certain amount of socialism is good but society needs to develop, create and change because of the people, not the government.

    Is the society the government, or is the government the society?
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      Apr 1 2011: What happens when the free market swamps parents and peers ability to educate? In other words how are parents and peers supposed to compete with an industry that spends all of its money designing products and messages built to entice, mislead, and addict you?
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    Apr 1 2011: Is "healthy food" so healthy? The human body must eat a little of everything. The problem is to abuse. No food is bad for you as long as you control the quantity. The one and only healthy food is just all the foods.
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      Apr 1 2011: While healthy food is a difficult term to define, especially for research measures, it can be said that minimally processed, organically grown fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthy. Period. It's all the rest that the quantity really needs to be controlled--sugars, fats, meat.
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    Mar 31 2011: That's a tough one. We want the freedom to choose, but someone else to blame when the outcome is undesirable. Tobacco is used by Native Americans for ritualistic reasons. It is also harmful. Where do we draw the line?

    This reminds me of grade school. One child acts out and all are punished. Will one day there be no free will left? Balance.
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      Mar 31 2011: This is much different than the grade school metaphor. Tobacco related diseases are the number one preventable cause of death and disease, followed by obesity-related diseases as the second largest preventable cause of death. We are talking about a super-majority here, not a singularity. And we are talking about an economy of scale that is built on disease. We deserve one that is built on health.

      We're talking about billions if not trillions of dollars spent on healthcare and millions of lives ended early with much suffering.
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        Mar 31 2011: We don't always get what we "deserve". Imposing our "we know better so do as we say" approach is a slippery slope. Yes, healthcare costs are out of control. However, I believe that much of this is due to poor management and fraudulent activities.

        You(the collective "you", not you personally) can't just impose your enlightened will on others without opposition. Those Native people, untouched by society are forced to climb that vertical learning curve called "progress". It's a tough pill to swallow. Regulation is a stone's throw from oppression.

        Sure I want to be part of the solution, but instead of increasing our life expectancy we should be preparing for the overwhelming power of nature. Can we achieve both? In a free market world, maybe not.
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    Mar 31 2011: Your idea to live healthy is admirable the responsibility is on the parents and then the individual. Once it has been proven that eating too many burgers is not good for you and the smoking is going to possibly kill you then the choice becomes yours as do the consequences. And yes, it is irresponsible to put such an attractive pitch on fast food but it's sadly all about what sells and makes money. It was not that long ago that McDonalds did not sell salads, but with some public outcry they started but it had to make a profit for them in order to do it. I have to say I love Jamie Oliver!
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      Mar 31 2011: Lee,

      Individual responsibility is a significant part of this equation. No question. However, research has shown that environmental factors, such as the choices that commonly surround someone, significantly contribute to issues such as obesity--JUST AS MUCH--as personal choices do.

      So we know through research that, changing food environments, is on of the most significant things we can do do combat and prevent obesity. And its not a level playing field. Consumers choices and appetites are being influenced by companies and industries who design their products for the outcome that people crave them. Not because they are good for, but because their is a chemical dependency formed. This is why there is a public role, a societal role, to help create equitable choices.
    • Mar 31 2011: Lee: I can't remember where I saw it, but there was a comparative report published recently that compared the amounts of salt, fat, and MSG in a variety of different fast foods. The absolute worst thing you could eat turns out to be the KFC chicken sandwich thing that has cheese or something sandwiched between two pieces of chicken. The second worst? McDonalds salad! If you throw away the dressing, it is OK, but nobody does. It is actually worse than things like the Big Mac. I'll have to see if I can dig up the report; if I can I'll post a link.
  • Mar 31 2011: I think that parents should stop letting kids watch TV.
  • Mar 31 2011: Even if I was O.K. with the government intervention, the effects are still little to nothing. (What child sees ads for vegetables and then goes and chugs a V8?!) We're still going to eat what we like. If the only restaurant around a neighborhood is a fast food, then they're going to eat at the fast food outlets regardless of what they see on TV. Government intervention isn't the answer.
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      Mar 31 2011: I don't so much agree with the" little to nothing par"t. It could be little effect that could lead to greater effects. I would be down to see them actually do it. And If doesn't have much effect in 20 years, sure, release the restrictions. Although we can predict the effects, or the outcomes, we never fully know about the outcomes for sure until we do it.
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    Mar 31 2011: Does your 6 year old brother have a credit card or money in his pocket to buy stuff?
    Do you want government who provides bad education and supply schoolls with junk food worldwide to censor private messages to the public?
    Your brother is a child but parents are dummies?
    Who do you think works for government? Wise people? They do not know how to treat you well.
    Please stop asking government to do what you should be doing in private to your brother. Education!!!!
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      Mar 31 2011: My brother is a child, I'm a sister who wants him to grow up healthy, educated and aware. My parents have just the same wishes as me. I am happy to say that we have been lucky to have good education and awareness, to be responsible caretakers. But my research paper was certainly not about my brother. I am concerned about kids are not granted with parents with good awareness about what's being displayed on the TV commercials.

      You seem to suggest that we don't need a government at all.
      But we do need a government. I'd like to believe that government works to provide welfare to public. They should be responsible, not for the well-being of my brother, but for the well-being of the society as a whole.
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        Apr 1 2011: Government should only provide security and guarantee legal process to anyone of us. When you say that government should provide welfare, you are forgetting about who will pay for that. It is a shame living with our hands in other people´s pockets. That is not welfare, it´s stealing. I do believe you can take care of your brother, as you mentioned you do. Like you, most of americans care about their kids. I would never trust on government, which is incompetent, to educate, feed or provide healthcare to any of my three sons. Government is a cold and faceless entity. What they give you with one hand, take from you with another. Besides taking your money or somebody else´s money, they take also your freedom and dignity. You are undervaluating what parents or relatives can do. Look yourself. If you can, why others can´t? It´s time to call back responsability to the individual about we care most...those who we love.
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    Drew B

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    Mar 30 2011: I agree greatly!
  • Mar 30 2011: Hi Dulguun, I am not sure if that would have much of an effect. A recent study by researchers at NYU School of Medicine published in the International Journal of Obesity indicates that calorie labeling in fast food restaurants had no effect on what people purchased. The message on healthy food has been out for quite a while. I wonder what percentage of people choose to purchase salads at McDonalds.
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      Mar 31 2011: I agree Julie, that a lot of people don't seem to mind about the calorie. On that note, I think we need to educate people beyond calories, and more about what impacts these unhealthy foods have on them. Sometimes numbers is just numbers, it doesn't tell people the effect. It is just that a lot of people think they can afford McDonald, but can't afford healthy food. We need to change their perspectives and let them realize what those unhealthy foods are doing to them and their kids.
      • Apr 1 2011: Hi Dulguun, a few days ago my son and I sat in the food court at the mall while he grabbed a (healthy enough) Sub to eat. A young couple, late teens to early 20s, both morbidly obese, squeezed into the adjacent table. They had a young child, possibly as old as 1 year, but a small 1-year old. This child was being fed french fries and fried onion rings, while they ate hamburgers and fries. It was heartbreaking to see this baby consume these things. There were many healthy enough choices at comparable prices. We live in a society where the message on healthy eating is absolutely everywhere. Part of the problem is that parents pass their harmful behaviors on to their children.
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        Apr 1 2011: Why are you all trying to establish the way other people should live? We should be worried when someone initiates violence or fraud against others. Isn´t it what are you trying to do? Forcing people to behave as you wish? If you want to spend your time and money to do so, I see no problem. However, asking a pachyderm (government) to step into. We all will be trampled.
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          Apr 1 2011: What is happening in our food environment and choices is a fraud. It could also be considered violence, as ultimately the industrialized food system is degrading our top-soils, creating dead zones in our oceans, poisoning our water, polluting our air, fattening us and our children, and causing fatal diseases.
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    Mar 28 2011: you deny personal responsibility. we all know that food affects health greatly, we also all know what foods are good and what are bad for health. this information is easily available. if someone does not want to eat healthy, it is his decision. there is no point in defending people from themselves. and there is the issue of the children. i seriously doubt that parents who eat healthy food can not deny their children mcdonalds, because they see it on tv. it might be a problem, but parents overcome much bigger problems. the problem arises if the entire family eats crap. but still, it is the parents' responsibility, and noone has a right to step up, and regulate this. (except of course if it falls into the child abuse category. there are dedicated laws for that serious case.)

    i can agree in one thing though. i would much more throughly go after dishonest ads. calling something that contains nothing but fat and sugar of "high nutrition value" is a lie. and it can be handled by strictly applying existing civil law. advertisement is a contract. and if the company fails to fulfill the promises, and the food is actually not highly nutritious, the company has to repay every single cent to the customers, if they request. this would probably put an end to reckless misinformation in ads.
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      Mar 30 2011: Hi Krisztian,
      I think you underestimate the power of advertising which is designed to circumvent logic. Science and psychology have been waging a war particularly against children in the form of advertising to help companies make profits. Have you never paid the premium price for a Starbuck's coffee? Why did you do that?
      Parents have far less control today than you assume especially when they are pitted against peer pressure, product placement in other media, and the pervasiveness of advertising in a myriad of forms.
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        Mar 30 2011: could advertisements make you buy something you don't want? i'm talking about you personally, not in general.

        i don't doubt that many people falls for the cheap tricks. but it is time for them to wise up, and use their heads. if not, then face the consequences.
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          Mar 30 2011: With an MBA in marketing, I think I am pretty wise to the tricks and yet I think I often buy products that I have not thought through. I buy the same detergents and liquid dish soap when I could buy cheaper brands and probably enjoy simliar results.
          Our eyes are drawn to things in colours or in fragrances- all marketing- and we enjoy certain environments more than others.
          Kids do not have a chance when they are exposed to an entire industry trying to claim them early and for life. Have you ever seen the cell phones that young people have now? Do you always get a new cell phone because yours has worn out?
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          Mar 31 2011: I don't mean to deny any responsibility. Surely it is a responsibility for every parents to control their children. But kids are not only interacting with their parents. They are living in a society just like every one of us, interacting with various types of people, being exposed to different media, information, and being influenced by peers and friends. Whatever looks cool to them on tv, they want to have it. Especially if their friends have it, they gotta have it.

          I don't have much concerns over kids and their households who are aware about unhealthy foods, and that they are able to look after their kids and control what they can buy. On the other hand, there are parents, working a full-time menial job, struggling to support a living, and unable to dedicate a deserving time to their children. They even don't know much about unhealthy foods themselves, and they don't know to shut off the TV for their kids. Another case, immigrant parents, also working menial jobs, some don't even know what's on TV. They think watching tv is good for them, and they are learning a lot of things. They do learn a lot of things from watching TV. But not from the commercials.

          So, these cases can go on and on. I mean, just because the parents can't afford to look after their children, it is upsetting that their kids will be more vulnerable to marketing tricks, and unhealthy foods, and obesity.
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        Mar 31 2011: wait, i'm getting lost. your point is that you have an MBA degree, so you can make decisions, but anyone without MBA degree can't?
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          Apr 1 2011: Krisztian, You are a wonderful person to debate with and generally I enjoy it but the above is unfair and not in any way implied in my answer. Everyone certainly has discernment but being educated in a topic makes the tricks of it more obvious.
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        Apr 1 2011: i agree that my remark was a little harsh. i also agree that education certainly helps. but i argue that even the dumbest person can, and in fact should, make decisions about their lives. caveat emptor, said the romans, and they were probably much less educated than basically anyone today. being careful and cautious is the absolute minimum we can demand from people.
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          Apr 2 2011: Caveat emptor actually means 'empty cavity' or 'emply inside' rather than the expression that we normally hear: Buyer beware.
          Why should people of good will have to be constantly on guard against people who would use trickery, manipulation or deciet to fleece them out of their money or their health?
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        Apr 2 2011: because other people use trickery and manipulation. this is a problem we can't deny or wish away. but have to either solve or control. the question is: who will solve it? the government, which is known for being slow, cumbersome, rigid and ineffective? or the people? i vote for the people.
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          Apr 2 2011: Krisztian, i see the logic in your conclusion but what I think is missing in your logic has something to do with the facts that we are a species who works best in cooperation with others. It was when we learned to work together to bring down a wooly mamoth or gazelle that we began to eat well. It was when we learned to work together against dog or wolf packs or even to ward off the cold that we survived.
          Individuals are often not able to be expert in every area. How can one person or family work against the mafia or Hell's Angels for example when they have something that that organization wants? This reminds me of teaching young children to stay away from strangers in the hope of keeping them from pediphiles. A small child is not a match for any adult with ill intents but we fool ourselves into believing we have done our due diligence by 'expecting a child to be smart enough to ward off an attack by one.
          Trickery and manipulation takes a certain sophistication to detect. Many people do not reach the stage of abstract thought. I think it is encumbant upon society to protect our children for the good of the society and the child.
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        Apr 2 2011: exactly. we are group animals, we do our best in a cooperating group. and not plankton floating around in warm water, and waiting for some distant government to take care of things for us.

        i don't think that we need any sophistication to detect trickery. the proof for that is the fact that, for example, if you ask people about what food is healthy, they know the answer. they know exactly how unhealthy pizza-fries-hamburger diet is. they know how unhealthy smoking is. if they didn't, i
        would agree that they are deceived, and it is unlawful. but they do know. they just don't care. it is their decision to make.