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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.

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