A group called The Kaiser Family Foundation has just published a study on junk food addiction and childhood obesity and their findings are in a word, stupid.
The study finds that a large part of why kids are so addicted to junk food and getting so fat is that their are more commercials for candy and snack food than their used to be. They say that as a matter of fact, the number of ads for such things has doubled from 20000 in the 70’s to 40000 today. Ok, I’m not going to argue that point for 2 reasons. First and foremost, I don’t have any of my own numbers to use to make a good case and secondly because they’re probably right, there are a lot of commercials out there these days and quite a few of them are for food.
Here’s where I have a problem. As part of a separate but related study, a team of psychologists spent about a year and a half studying the impact of commercials on different age groups. What they found was that children under the age of 8 have trouble understanding that the intent of ads was to sell things and that the claims made in those ads were in fact exagerated. Well first of all let me just say on behalf of anybody who’s money went into funding any of this and on behalf of anybody with a functioning brain, duh!
So now the American Psychological Association and the people who did the other study are calling for tighter controls on junk food advertising directed at young children thinking that somehow these new laws are going to stop kids from getting fat. Um, I think you’re all missing something here, that being the fact that kids don’t have money and that they’re not the ones buying all of this crap. If you want to try to change something, why not try to target all the parents who are buying everything just because their kids are asking for it? If Mom and Dad could just say no to little Billy when he asks for the big bag of chips and the 12 gallon drumb of sugar water, maybe the chances of him becoming not so little Billy before he turns 11 would go down a little bit.
Parents are so afraid of saying no to their children these days, it’s ridiculous! I know some of them have guns but give me a break, put your foot down, you’re a parent for god sakes! My Mom used to say no to me quite a bit when I was a kid and she’s still very much alive and well thank you very much. Kids can’t have everything they ask for, whether it be junk food, toys, clothes or whatever.
I’m not sure what it is with parents these days but something really needs to change and maybe, just maybe, before we start coming down on the kids for not understanding how commercials work and putting all the blame on them, perhaps what all of these groups should be doing is funding classes for Mom and Dad to teach them the proper use of a small but effective part of the English language, that being the word no.