Impact of Food Marketing on Children

Food marketing has been identified as the key factor for childrens’ food preferences, the dietary choices they make and their unhealthy consumption. The younger children are more persuasive to the marketing messages than the older children. They tend to listen to advertisements more than their parents.

The result of such an impact of food marketing is due to high visibility through television commercials, give-aways, celebrity endorsement, promotions at various places like theatres, malls, supermarkets etc. It is not a mere food item that a brand is trying to incorporate in the child’s mind through this but is also working towards building a purchasing habit. Thus, not only the current health but the future health of the child that is at stake. What might appear to be a temporary or fair demand / stubbornness of the child for a product might turn out to be an unhealthy dietary choice with excess salt / sugar / fat in the product. This food choice determines the food preference of the child over a period of time (e.g. preference of sweetness in all the foods, cheese in most of the meals).

The impact of advertising of these unhealthy foods is that the children are more prone to becoming overweight earlier in life due to excessive consumption of sugar, salt or fat in these foods. Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems – diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. These eating habits are likely to continue into adulthood