Can ads teach our kids about good health?
I admit; I can be swayed by the food industry’s marketing messages. When I see ads depicting fruits and vegetables or using physical activity to promote food or drinks, it causes me to think that products may be healthier than they actually are.
And it turns out kids think the same thing. A new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut found that nutrition and/or physical activity messages in commercials for unhealthy food or drinks make these products more attractive to children. Rudd researchers also found that children believed that mom or dad would buy more products marketed in a healthy way vs. other types of messaging.
Food and drink companies claim that healthy lifestyle messages teach children about nutrition and good health, but the Rudd Center study found no evidence that’s the case. All children in the study agreed that it is important to eat fruits and vegetables and exercise every day, regardless of the type of food (i.e., healthy vs. unhealthy) and marketing messages they viewed.
So, who is benefitting from healthy lifestyle messages? Most likely food and drink companies that are using these messages in advertising directed at our kids to sell their unhealthy products and build brand loyalty.
This is a chance for us moms to use our superpowers and see this healthy messaging for what it really is: another way for brands to push their unhealthy products on us and our kids. If you want to learn more about this study, contact Sally Mancini at email@example.com.