What does the food industry provide for you?
To most Americans, it delivers the ability to choose foods that are wholesome and delicious. It gives the convenience of quickly going to the grocery store for last minute items that you need to feed your family, not having to walk 10 miles to the nearest market just to negotiate with a vendor whether your only pair of shoes is worth his bag of yams.
This last comment may be a bit over dramatic, but still truthful and real nonetheless.
Now with all of its wonder and awe, the American food industry is the pinnacle of success. With the market being saturated in conglomerate companies, it is no wonder the industry is almost over efficient -- bringing with it a heavy burden on the waistline of American consumers. To examine where this waistline bulges at the seams let’s take a broad look at how this industry markets to children.
See, marketing is the elephant in the room when it comes to childhood obesity. Almost any parent can tell you that cartoon advertisements on food packages affect what their children ask them to purchase and, more importantly, affects what foods their children are willing to eat.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, almost 80% of foods advertised on television shows intended for children are for convenience/fast foods and sweets. Every day children see on average of 15 commercials, depending on the study you read, with products containing excessive amounts of sugar, fat and/or sodium.
Marketing to school-age children is a deliberate strategy, even as a Coca-Cola executive stated, “we’re especially targeting a teen or young adult audience. They’re always on their mobile phones and they spend an inordinate amount of time on the Internet.” 
From these observations and studies conducted, we see that nearly 40% of a child’s diet comes from added sugars and unhealthy fats. Interestingly so, one study found that when children were exposed to television content with food ads, they consumed 45% more food than children exposed to non-food advertising. As most companies with a semantically savvy PR will admit there is no one cause of obesity. This is not an exemption from responsibility.
As we can see, marketing is not about imparting wisdom or critical thinking skills into the minds of children, it is about creating demand for a product at the expense of the consumer. Reversing this marking trend will require drastic measures, from passionate individuals like you and me. For myself, and my fellow nutritionally conscious friends in America, I urge you to engage in food politics to help to ensure that this system is more conducive to the health and collective justice of our current and future generations.
If you would like more information on food marketing to children, please visit: http://www.preventioninstitute.org/focus-areas/supporting-healthy-food-a-activity/supporting-healthy-food-and-activity-environments-advocacy/get-involved-were-not-buying-it/735-were-not-buying-it-the-facts-on-junk-food-marketing-and-kids.html
1. "Food Marketing for Children." Center for Science in the Public Interest. Nutrition Action Healthletter, n.d. Web.
2. Nestle, Marion. "Marking to Kids." Food Politics. N.p., 23 Jan. 2014. Web. <http://www.foodpolitics.com/tag/marketing-to-kids/>.
3. Harris, Jennifer L. "Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior."National Center For Biotechnology Information. N.p., July 2009. Web. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov%2Fpmc%2Farticles%2FPMC2743554%2F>
Lauren Wood has been pursuing her higher education goals for the past 7 years, starting off with her BS from the University of Arizona in Family Studies/Human Development and now finishing with her BS from Metro State University of Denver in Nutrition/Dietetics. Her personal and professional goals continue to be forged with holistic philosophies and scientifically sound nutrition practices. Lauren has a passion for ‘food politics’ and a creative outlook on making future strides in the improvement of the American food industry.