According to a report by the Kaiser Family foundation, childhood obesity can be linked to television viewing time — specifically to the 40,000 ads that children see annually on TV.
Children age eight and younger are very vulnerable, because they have trouble distinguishing between ads and programs.
The majority of ads targeting children are for candy, cereal, soda, and fast food. This provides parents with some easy ways to counteract the effects of advertising:
On shopping trips, let your child see that advertising claims are often exaggerated.
Toys that look big, fast, and exciting on the screen may be disappointingly small, slow, and unexciting close-up.
Tell your child that the purpose of advertising is to sell products to as many viewers as possible.
Put advertising disclaimers into words children understand: “partial assembly required” means “You have to put it together before you can play with it.”
Teach your children about nutrition. If your children can read package labels, allow them to choose a breakfast cereal from those where sugar is not one of the first ingredients listed.
These steps can all have an impact.