The sedentary hours kids spent watching television have often been blamed for America’s growing obesity problem, but new research from UCLA says the real culprit is junk food advertising.
The study compared children who watched DVDs or commercial-free programs, such as Sesame Street, and kids who watch regular TV and commercials. TV viewing contributed to childhood obesity only among the kids who watched commercials, which predominantly market unhealthy food and drinks.
And for so many years I thought that it was parents who decided what their kids ate, that it was parents who put the groceries in the cart and then pay for them at the till, that parents had the authority and ability to say 'no Johnny we cannot buy a club pack of Captain Crunch.' Is it really a shocker or mystery that in a generation where parents coddle, cuddle and rarely say no child obesity is skyrocketing? Kids are being pumped full of high sugar foods for various reasons - sometimes because mom/dad cannot be bothered to say no, other times because because mom/dad are too busy to cook healthy food and always end up in the drive-thru. It amazes me that so many people act as if childhood obesity is some great unsolved mystery. [OK yes, I know I am not a doctor.] I ate junk food as a child - in moderation. My mom made real dinners for our family and I was in sports. Oh and guess what - I watched tv. I loved television - and I loved the commercials but my parents did not have a problem saying no to me. Late night binges on pop, ice cream and chips did not occur in my house - unless of course it was a slumber party.
Watching commercials might make kids want sugary foods - but it is parents who buy these foods and put them in the hands of children. Stop pointing the finger and clean out your fridge.