Restrict Junk Food Advertisements on Television

Target: Viacom Incorporated

Goal: Restrict the number of junk food advertisements on television that are specifically directed at children on Nickelodeon

The average American child is exposed to over ten junk food advertisements per day. If a child watches television consistently throughout the year, he will be exposed to over 4,000 ads in one single year. This alarming frequency of marketing makes it tempting for small hands to grab at every sugary Reeses Puffs cereal, artificially flavored fruit roll-ups, and gooey Hostess cakes at the grocery store. Not surprisingly, most children are too young to understand that junk food companies are trying to sell them something and willingly believe that junk food is equivalent to “kid food.” Children feel entitled to eat these foods because cartoon animals tell them that they can and should. Ask Viacom Incorporated, a media conglomerate responsible forĀ Nickelodeon’sĀ marketing, to restrict the number of these advertisements shown on its networks to help reduce child obesity.

While some popular television channels have already begun to implement changes in advertising (Disney has vowed to remove junk food ads from its programs by 2015), others have not. The change, however, has the potential to drastically alter the way children desire to eat, and it can ultimately reduce the rate of overall obesity in the future. Because children do not naturally crave fats and sugars from popular food brands without the influence of advertisements, it is vital that media companies value children’s health over the desire to market directly to them. By doing the latter, they are directly harming young people.

Channels such as Nickelodeon have not yet vowed to restrict the frequency of junk food advertisements shown between children’s programs. Many parents have petitioned to abolish such ads until after 9pm, a time after which most young ones are asleep. Whether restriction takes the form of limiting ad frequency, or altering the time such ads can be shown, action must be taken to reduce the amount of influence media has on controlling the appetites of American children.

Ask Viacom to take action for this cause and help limit the amount of junk foods ads children see on a daily basis. A healthy restriction like this has the potential to drastically reduce the rate of obesity in the future and assist young people in making healthful decisions that can better their quality of life.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Viacom Incorporated,

It is a well-known fact that children are swayed by colorful pictures and appealing cartoon characters. When the media manipulates these otherwise innocent images to tempt children into making poor health decisions, something must be changed. At present, children are exposed to thousands of junk food advertisements on a yearly basis, and the result can be seen in America’s climbing obesity rates. I urge you place restrictions on the frequency of advertisements shown to small children, or ban junk food ads from being aired before 9pm.

If children are not told by the media to drink sugary sodas and eat fatty snacks, they will be more apt to adopt the healthy lifestyle that most parents attempt to instill in them from an early age. Parents struggle in vain to do this because junk food ads are so appealing to the youth. Please help parents across the nation to teach their kids how to make health-conscious choices. These young people are the future of our nation, and it is unfair that a cartoon animal selling sugary snacks has the power to mold them into couch potatoes.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Science News for Kids

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