The marketing campaigns on foods are effective in influencing people's behavior and the result is what many nutrition experts call a toxic environment one that dissuades people from making healthy food choices and encourages inactivity.
Making food choices based on TV advertising leads to unhealthy and poor eating habits as they:
• Tend to oversupply nutrients associated with chronic illness - due to saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium -- and undersupply nutrients that help protect against illness -- fiber, vitamins A, E, and C, calcium and potassium.
• Children usually end up eating twice the quantity of junk foods like chips and aerated beverages which provide only added calories and no vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Impact on children's health
Many of the foods advertised on television contain inadequate amounts of 12 essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, fiber, vitamins D and E, and magnesium, and provide an abundance of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and childhood obesity especially in those less than 5 years of age.
Parents are advised to do these:
- Limit television time and encourage participation in activities like sports and reading
- Help children read food labels
- Prepare healthy, tasty and fun food for your family
- Do not use unhealthy foods as ‘rewards' to appreciate your child's good behavior