By Dr. Mercola
The United States now has 52 million children under the age of 12, and for American businesses, these kids represent one of the most powerful demographics to be captured.Not only do children themselves spend a total of $40 billion a year on snacks, toys and electronics, using money given to them by their parents or family members, children also exert a powerful influence on their parents’ spending.Children under 12 influence adult spending worth a staggering $700 billion a year, which equates to the combined economy of 115 of the world’s poorest countries.The documentary Consuming Kids reveals the shrewd practices of the multi-billion dollar marketing machine that has one sole purpose: to turn your kids into loyal, lifelong consumers who will also influence how the entire family spends its money.The Rise of Full Immersion Stealth Marketing
Marketing to children has turned into a science in its own right. For example, the film reveals how “the nag factor” has been studied to the point that marketers can be advised on “what kind of tantrums work better.”Yes, ads are actually designed to increase the number of times your child will keep asking you for the product—i.e. drive you completely batty and/or embarrass you in public until you give in just to make it stop.With advances in technology, the avenues for marketing have grown exponentially over the past 30 years. It is no longer restricted to TV ads. Kids are now exposed to clever marketing via brand licensing, product placement, schools, stealth marketing, viral marketing, DVD’s, games, internet…There are so many ways to reach children today that there’s a brand in front of your child’s face nearly every moment of every day.As mentioned in the film, what we’re seeing is a rise of “360 degree immersive marketing,” designed to convince children that life is about buying and “getting.” It’s about turning children into loyal lifelong consumers.
Deregulation Unleashed an Unstoppable “Beast” Set on Devouring Your Kids
In the late 1970’s, in the wake of rising concerns about sugary cereals and children’s inability to understand the intent of advertising, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tried to ban all ads aimed at kids below the age of eight. After all, a young child cannot understand that an ad is not an impartial infomercial that tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… For this reason, advertising aimed at children is grossly underhanded, if not outright immoral.Alas, Big Business stepped in and convinced Congress to block such attempts. Instead of banning advertising to children, Congress passed “The FTC Improvement Act,” which strips the FTC of the power and authority to regulate marketing to children. The final blow came in 1984, when the entire industry was deregulated.Coca-Cola’s Misguided Advice to Help You Tackle Obesity
A perfect example of what we’re talking about here is Coca-Cola’s new ad campaign, which focuses on the mistaken belief that beating obesity is a matter of counting calories. This theory has been found to be patently false. In short, you do not get fat because you eat too many calories and don’t exercise enough, even though that’s exactly what Coca-Cola will again instill into your children.It’s important to understand that you get fat because you eat the wrong kind of calories. At the end of the day, your consumption of carbohydrates, whether in the form of grains and sugars (especially fructose), will determine whether or not you’re able to manage your weight and maintain optimal health. This is because these types of carbs (fructose and grains) affect the hormone insulin, which is a very potent fat regulator.
Help Fight Back Against Predatory Marketing to Kids
Perhaps one of the most powerful scientific discoveries to emerge in the past several years is that the old adage “a calorie is a calorie” is patently false. Furthermore, the idea that in order to lose weight all you have to do is expend more calories than you consume is also false… The research clearly demonstrates that even if you control the number of calories you eat, if those calories come from fructose, you are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, or prediabetes, which includes insulin resistance, fatty liver, high blood pressure and high triglycerides.In short, avoiding fructose in all its forms, along with other sugars, is imperative in order to avoid “flipping the fat switch” that will trigger your body to accumulate excess fat. So please, do yourself and your family a huge favor, and don’t allow yourself to get swept up in Coca-Cola’s multi-million dollar ad extravaganza. The entire campaign is based on flawed, inaccurate, misleading, and patently false conventions of thinking.As for all the other marketing, which runs the gamut from toys to clothing brands, electronics, and even cars and financial services, the best defense is perhaps to be aware that it’s happening. To combat the influence of marketing of all kinds, I’d advise you to limit the amount of time your child spends watching TV and surfing the web. Children under the age of three should not be watching any TV at all, as this is a crucial time of rapid brain development in which your child’s brain is shaped in response to whatever they’re exposed to.If you and your kids are absolutely hooked on fast food and other processed foods, you’re going to need some help and most likely some support from friends and family. Besides surrounding yourself with supportive, like-minded people, you can also review my article “How to Wean Yourself Off Processed Foods in 7 Steps” or read the book I wrote on the subject, calledGeneration XL: Raising Healthy, Intelligent Kids in a High-Tech, Junk-Food World.more details in link below
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