Writing for Natural Society, Mike Barrett reminds readers children in America spend approximately 44.5 hours per week watching television and are exposed to up to 3,055 ads per year.
Around 50 percent of the ads are for candy, snacks, sugary cereal, and fast food. Children have an average of 3 snacks in between meals, most of which contain high amounts of sugar. But a poor diet is only part of the issue.
Barrett warns the 44.5 hours of TV and associated advertising is only part of the problem. All the TV watching, time spent on the computer and playing video games, robs children of outdoor time, and time engaged in physical activity, or doing homework and interacting with family members.
About one third of American children are overweight or obese, and 50 percent of overweight children remain overweight even into adulthood.
Time Spent on Daily Media Consumption
—> 4.5 Hours in front of TV
—> 1.5 Hours on the computer
—> 2.5 Hours listening to music
—> Over 1 hour playing video games
—> 38 minutes reading
Age and Advertising Breakdown
13,904 ads annually; 12 foods daily
30,155 ads annually; 21 foods daily
28,655 ads annually; 17 foods daily
50 percent of all ad time on children’s shows is for food.
Types of Ads Aimed at Children Under 12
33 Percent: Candy and snacks
28 Percent: Cereal
10 Percent: Fast Food
29 Percent: Other
Barrett’s included infographic warns that childhood obesity has become parents’ number one health concern — ahead of smoking and drug abuse, and adds youngsters who are already overweight are even more susceptible to junk food ads and will increase consumption by 134 percent.
In 2010, across the general population, 60 percent of the United States was overweight or obese, and that percentage is continually growing. If the escalation of obesity rates continues at its current rate then 50 percent of the population is expected to be obese by 2030.
Quebec Ban on Children’s Fast-Food Ads
In 1980, Quebec banned advertisements for toys and fast food aimed at children under 13 in print and electronic media.
According to Global News, the ban cut money spent on fast food in Quebec by 13 per cent per week.
And despite Canada’s childhood obesity rates having almost tripled in the past 25 years, Quebec has one of the lowest childhood obesity rates in Canada even as data shows the province’s children have one of the most sedentary lifestyles.