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Obesity caused by more than sitting on couch
June 27th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Obesity caused by more than sitting on couch

Obesity experts have been saying for years that children who sit in front of the TV screen day in and day out tend to be heavier. It's the sedentary lifestyle. But now experts are finding it's not only the couch potato effect, but the television ads children are watching, along with other factors that can add inches to their waistlines.

According to a new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, titled, “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media," junk food and fast food ads increase a child's desire to eat those types of foods. Studies also show that snacking while watching the tube increases. And if kids stay up late at night while watching the tube or playing video games, their lack of sleep can be a major factor in raising their risk for obesity.

“We’ve created a perfect storm for childhood obesity – media, advertising, and inactivity,” said the statement’s lead author, Dr.Victor Strasburger, a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media. “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy – too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise, and not enough sleep.”

1 in 5 Pre-K kids carry too much weight

The statement recommends a number of tips so parents can help curb their children's weight. They include:
-Discussing food advertising with their children as they monitor children’s TV viewing and teach them about good nutrition.
- Limiting a child's time in front of a TV monitor and avoid putting TV sets and Internet connections in children’s bedrooms.
- And be aware that kids with high levels of screen time also have more stress, putting them at risk not only for obesity but for a number of other conditions such as diabetes, mood disorders and asthma.

"Thirty years ago, the federal government ruled that young children are psychologically defenseless against advertising. Now, kids see 5,000 to 10,000 food ads per year, most of them for junk food and fast food,” said Strasburger.

The AAP also recommends that pediatricians ask two questions about media exposure when parents bring their children in for checkups. How much time is the child spending on screens each day? And is there a TV set or Internet connection in the child's bedroom?

“Having the conversation around these two questions can go a long way toward a thoughtful approach to each family’s – and each child’s – media use, and that can quickly translate into healthier choices and healthier weight,”  Strasburger said.

The policy statement can be found in the current issue of the journal Pediatrics.


soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Jill Tackabery

    I will not believe the impact of the media and advertising on the childhood obesity issue until I'm shown that children (ages birth to 15) are doing the planning, shopping and paying for the family groceries.

    June 27, 2011 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      You have fallen for the Everyone Lives in a Vacuum myth. That is the one that says whatever happens to one person, in this case the child, has no effect on another, in this case the parent. You either have not been a parent or you are living in lala land. And just think about it – if the people that run the junk food companies are so smart, and my guess is that they are as smart or smarter than you, why would they run these ads if they didn't work? You have not thought it through, Jill. My guess is you also believe in Attraction Theory.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:20 | Report abuse |
    • miller

      I'm with you Jill. It's time for people to stop blaming others for their own problems. Teach your children how to eat properly and get them moving. Turn off the TV and video games. Teach them how to live healthfully rather than allowing them to learn from the media.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Actually, miller, you are the one that is blaming. You are blaming the parents without looking for solutions. The solution is to eliminate exposure to ads by eliminating television.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:46 | Report abuse |
    • FrostKa

      Amen. No child has the power to force their parent to purchase fast food – and seriously, Bob, try being a PARENT instead of being a friend. I am not a parent yet, but was raised without much fast food – and I'm SURE I begged and begged and begged! I see my friends with children doing the same thing and, SHOCKINGLY, not buying their kids junk every time they ask. If you don't have enough willpower to refuse your child something that will eventually kill them (if it was eaten every day), then you don't really have what it takes to parent anyway.

      June 27, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      The question is how do you solve the problem? So far none of you have shown any strategy for solving the problem. So far all you three are doing is blaming. You guys are blaming parents instead of looking for solutions. Think, people, think.

      June 27, 2011 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • Kristen

      Thats exactly right....just because my son wants a cheeseburger, doesn't mean he gets one. Just because he sees Mickey Mouse or Buzz Lightyear on fruit snacks at the store – doesn't mean I'll buy them! Seriously, who's providing for these kids? And why on earth would you take your kids out for fast food so often that they're overweight? Thats gross, I can't even eat fast food more than about once a week without feeling disgusted. I'd rather cook at home and pick the veggies like different varieties of lettuce and steamed broccoli that we like and will eat than end up with wax beans and flavorless boiled carrots.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse |
    • Kristen

      A solution? OK, how about meal planning. Or if you "don't know how to cook", either taking a cooking class, asking a friend to show you some easy recipes or investing in a Betty Crocker cookbook. Heck, three meals at Mcdonalds? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $15. A fryer chicken with some Emeril's Essence, Seasoning Salt or some other favorite seasoning with a salad and maybe a loaf of french bread...I'd say if you pushed it you could spend $8-$9 on that whole meal. Save the money and your waistline.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • guest

      You are right! No child can watch TV for hours or drive themselves to the fast food restaurant for a quick cheeseburger and a soda. The parents themselves engage in similar activities, such as hours on the couch watching TV and eating TV dinners. Even when they go outdoors for a picnic, they purchase a cheesy supreme pizza and soft drinks. It is the parents who need to be trained in proper child-rearing and proper diet-nutrition. They need to know that it is OK to discipline your kids, not give them anything and everything they want, and parenting comes with a lot of responsibility, which includes keeping your kid healthy.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:50 | Report abuse |
    • linda

      It's the parents. They let them sit in front of the tvs all day, they buy the video games, they rent the movies, they buy the fast food.

      June 27, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse |
    • SweetsWars

      @miller Apparently you don't have a child in school, grades Pre-12. Find out how much candy is handed out by teachers for answering questions, showing up, or breathing. My kids were in the same math class and the teacher handed out candy bars (full size) if he called them by each others names, did the same for any child he called by a previous years siblings name. The kids loved it, I didn't. You can buy all the 'good' food in the world, when you child is pumped full of candy at school to reward their 'good' behavior it's crazy. Few 'normal' children will turn down free candy.

      June 27, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Mack

      Parents cause childhood obesity just as adults cause adult obesity.

      As I parent, I teach my kids how to resist the temptations that are put in front of them. I LIMIT exposure to TV. I teach them to enjoy an ACTIVE life.

      It's time for parents to take responsibility for their kids and people to take responsibility for themselves. With a 3, 6, and 20 year old, I can say that this is possible. I love and eat McDonalds, candy, and junk food. It's just like drinking. Moderation and responsibility is key!!!!

      June 27, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      I have a theory that this guy BOB is an executive for the fast food company! Not only have each and every one of you so kindly stated that it is not the ads and watching them that cuase obesity it is the parents who ultimately allow their child to eat that junk food. BOB you really, really need to get off this post, you have zero knowledge of being a parent and if you are I can just imagine some kids who run the show not you. Everyone here is posting solutions, 1. Be a parent, if your child only sits down and watches TV and video games all day then get them more active and limit their TV time. 2. Be a parent limit the junk food they eat. 3. Be a parent and stop blaming the ads and other factors, you the parent have authority on what your kids eat, watch, activities and all other things in life.4. Stop arguing with people like BOB because he really is just looking for a fight and is being a moron.

      June 27, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse |
    • The Truth

      Child obesity is the parents' fault, period. If I demanded McDonalds for dinner my parents would say no and tell me to finish my peas. If it were light out and good weather my parents made me go play outside. My parents only served junk food and drinks at parties and as rare treats. I could want anything that was shown on tv, but my parents decided if I got it, when and how much. In short if parents kept the child's best interest in mind instead of appeasing them then they would not be obese. Also having one unhealthy meal a day at school will not make a child obese, its the whole lifestyle not just one meal.

      June 27, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      I agree. My son complained occasionally while growing up that we had no "junk food" in the house. Too bad, I would reply – eat fruit or oatmeal if you're hungry. Whle I cooked dinner, they could get started on salad. Milk, pure fruit juice, or water – no soda. I didn't restrict TV or video games and both my kids played sports, are now in college, and healthy weights – my son is 6' 2" and about 190 pounds, working out and still playing sports, my daughter 5' 3" and 130 pounds, also still physically active. It's a lifestyle choice the parents make and pass along. And it's cheaper than filling your cupboards with junk food too.

      June 27, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • Saquino01

      You are so right!

      June 27, 2011 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
    • Geeshgirl

      Agreed.

      July 11, 2011 at 08:12 | Report abuse |
  2. miller

    Calories in versus calories out. Period. If the family eats nothing but junk and they do nothing but watch tv and play video games they will most likely be fat. TV and the ads shown aren't making the kids fat. Common sense seems to have disappeared completely. Turn off the TV and take a family walk or bike ride. Move more and eat less. When we take responsibility for our own actions, the problem will be solved. As a parent, set some limits. Be a parent.

    June 27, 2011 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Your first two sentences contradict each other.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Also, see my reply to Jill. You have also not thought this through.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:21 | Report abuse |
  3. miller

    Actually, the sentences don't contradict each other. Burn some calories. Eat less junk and fewer calories. Move your body. I am a parent of healthy, active children. My husband and I plan the meals and we get exercise as a family. My children have no say in the foods that go into the grocery cart, and, yes, I explain why sugary cereals and fatty potato chips and other garbage are occasional snacks–not a daily indulgence. Unless a parent is willing to teach and guide, the advertising will be a major influence on what children eat. Just because it's advertised doesn't mean it goes into my grocery cart. Think for yourself.

    June 27, 2011 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      "Period." is not a sentence. You said "Calories in versus calories out." as your first sentence. Your second sentence then goes on to say eating junk and watching t.v. will make you fat. Not all people that do this are fat because, as your first sentence says it's calories in and calories out. You should rather have said "garbage in, garbage out" because a bigger problem with junk food is that it wrecks your body.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:44 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Of course then, you would agree that eliminating exposure to ads would make parenting easier and therefore more likely to be successful. Again, you have not thought it through.

      June 27, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
    • Momo

      Bob, you seem to be splitting hairs. Why are you being so argumentative about what they have to say. You continuously seem to want to attack what their solutions are, when their solutions seem to work and seem to make sense. I don't know what you are looking for. What is your solution? Why don't you enlighten us? I'm curious to see more from you than attacks.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse |
    • mikoid

      Bob obviously believes in the "Nanny-State"...

      June 27, 2011 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
    • frank

      Bob, you are a moron. Lets hope you are not breeding.

      June 27, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    Also, miller, you have not studied why people overeat in the first place. It is a primarily a combination of genetics, early childhood experiences and current environmental conditions. No person has any control of any of these three. The only way to solve the problem is to plan for the future. Blaming parents is not planning for the future. It is blaming – the thing you say you want to do away with. So instead of blaming why don't you help people by helping them plan for a better future instead of saying it's all your fault?

    June 27, 2011 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ks

      So the fact that these parents do not help their children plan for the future isn't a good enough excuse to blame them?

      June 27, 2011 at 09:44 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      You can blame all you want but it will never do any good.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • ks

      It may not help solve the issue but it does explain the root cause.

      June 27, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • andrew nutra

      parents who buy the food for their children cause obesity.

      June 28, 2011 at 07:32 | Report abuse |
  5. T

    No, the media is not causing obesity. People are. .

    June 27, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Right, people control the media which controls the people which controls the media which controls the people which.....

      June 27, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  6. Vichara

    Ignorance of oneself and forgetting to choose quality in all that you. Allow deep awareness into the "rewards" of any 'easy' way... yes we all have control of our makeup, early childhood experiences and environmental conditions. Destiny can be shaped as the future hasnt happened yet. People are affecting their world as we speak.

    June 27, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      How do you control early childhood experiences? Unless you can go back in time, which you can not, you can not change the past.

      June 27, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • ser

      UGGHGHGHGHGH....i came to read these comments hoping to read some funny comments about fatties and all i got are people arguing over grammer and semantics....losers

      June 27, 2011 at 12:17 | Report abuse |
  7. ks

    At least this article makes more sense than the one about, "Those who watch TV are more likely to be obese." That statement or "study" if you can call it that is completely biased. Personally, I work out while watching TV as do many people. Their sample group was just people being sedentary the entire time.

    June 27, 2011 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Vichara

    Bob ~ The control is in the deep awareness and ones perspective through meditative studies. Very few are comfortable or are familiar with revisiting their childhood, or doing many other forms of inner homework. Yes you cannot change the past, it is gone, water under many bridges but you can use it transforming the energy dynamic... sorta unlearning.

    June 27, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      You are not thinking logically. You can not change the past or the present. You can only plan for the future. To change one must have a goal and make a plan of how to reach that goal. One's past is always immutable. It does, however, have an impact on ones plan. Determine the goal, make a plan, put it to action. That is all future based. Blame is always about the past. Almost everyone here is blaming the parents. That in no way can help anyone since blame always focuses on the past.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
  9. Shewolf

    If parents would quit using electronics to babysit their children, there wouldn't be so many fat kids. It is the parents fault & the parents fault ONLY! We live in a me, me, me society & everyone has to have the next newest gadget or toy. I understand parents are afraid to let kids play outside due to the pervs but kids can play in the house with actual non-electronic toys which would not require them to sit. I am appalled at the number of parents that allow their children to drink sugared drinks instead of water. Parents need to smarten up-ads don't force you to buy stuff-parents have the last word for waht goes in their kids mouths...start using it!

    June 27, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Vichara

    Shewolf ~ Were it only as simple as that... thank you for this healthy track. One can kill oneself with consumption (food & 'thinking') which, yup, has been guided by parents and outside cognitive programming. The stress of it all is the real killer, subliminal and overt, with corporate strategies very involved. I myself have managed to undo a lifelong coca-cola thing in favor of clean water; imagine selling such an addictive unhealthy unnecessary product at a 'thousand times cost?' It is similar to a disease.

    June 27, 2011 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. skarreltte

    How about this block the Tv until weekend nights other day so the week Tv not allowed on.

    June 27, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oh Please...

      Um? Grammar?

      June 27, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  12. Jing

    First they blame the food industry, then they blame the media industry for making their children and themsevles fat. Obesity comes from lack of control and sendatary lifestyle, people whom are obese should take responsibility for themselves, go out stay physically active, eat in small portions that's all!

    June 27, 2011 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. CJ

    I do not need governmental censorship to keep my child from being obese. I am the parent, and their health is my business and no one else's. I pay for their insurance and medical bills. I don't need the school nutritionist or any other so-called "experts" butting into my life. Having said that, as a responsible parent who loves her child, I choose to limit his intake of fast food, processed foods in the home, carbohydrates in general, sugared and colored drinks, etc.

    A sad truth of our society is that healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy options. We are on a very limited budget, but I choose to buy used clothing online and make ends meet in other ways so that I can provide healthy lunchbox meals for my first-grader. I involve him in menu planning, grocery shopping and meal preparation. My son DOES have a say in what goes in the grocery cart, because I'm trying to teach him to make wise choices, not just to eat what is in front of him. (Because I'm not with him 24/7.) He does get some chips, cookies and drive-through, but I make sure he eats more fruit and vegetables and that he knows why. (Even at 6, he is well aware of the discomfort of constipation and the importance of a balanced diet!) We eat more "kid friendly" meals than I'd prefer, but as long as they are healthy and he's willing to try a few bites of something new and unfamiliar every now and then, this is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

    Outlawing "tempting" commercials wouldn't teach our children the importance of making healthy choices. Does anyone remember that cigarettes and liquor were once advertised on television? Then the video-nazis decided that the solution was to discontinue that so that children wouldn't be tempted to engage in these "unhealthy habits." Obviously, young people continue to smoke and drink, so the better solution would be to teach them why it is harmful, not to pretend that the dangers don't exist! It's time for parents to be responsible, NOT for the government to stop all exposure to the very existence of every health hazard out there!

    June 27, 2011 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ser

      excellent last paragraph....most intelligent thing written on this comment board, and perhaps any comment board on CNN in a very long time....kudos....

      June 27, 2011 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
  14. noteabags

    Consuming more calories than you expend causes obesity. Case closed.

    June 27, 2011 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. laghoulie

    Hmmmmmm. It's called NO! If you don't want your kid pestering you for junk food it's called NO, you can't have that. Deal with the temper tantrum. I love how most people will train the dog but not the kids. If you don't want an annoying and destructive animal you TRAIN IT. If you don't want an annoying destructive fat lazy kid you TRAIN IT. I have a child that is pleasent and fun to be around because I trained her to be a respectful human being. Who thinks of others not just herself. She is not overweight and she has a thyroid gland that doesn't work. You want a kid do your job and Train IT!

    June 27, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. hical

    sure ads can have influence ... it is still the individual's responsibility to eat the number of calories they actually need. If they get fat ... it is their own fault.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Carl

    If the food ads are causing kids to eat food and get fat, why aren't those same ads and TV shows inducing children to mimic the kids in them, who are always running around doing stuff instead of sitting on their butts for hours?

    Shielding kids from ads for food is not protection. You are only delaying their exposure until you aren't around. That's basically an admission that you are a useless parent.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Kansas_Man

    I have 2 kids, i get asked a lot to take them to McDonalds or to buy them pop or other junk food. I'll tell them no then we will go out side and go swimming. gee and none of my kids are fat. i wonder why.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oh Please...

      that's effective parenting. providing reasonable restrictions to care for your child.

      June 27, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  19. Generation Gap

    In my day's of growing up, my mother informed you that supper was ready. You were not asked what you wanted for supper. You were told what was for supper, and if you were hungry, that's what you got to eat. If you didn't eat what she prepared, you didn't eat.

    Then I look at my girlfriend and the way she feeds her son. He chooses what he eats and when he eats it. He's also 30 lbs. overweight. He also spends his time playing video games. I"ve seen him outside to play once this summer and it was to shoot his BB gun. During this time, he sat in a lawn chair.

    It's strange for me to see a kid calling the shots. I hear "I don't want to" and "I will when I finished watching this" on a daily basis. His world revolves around video games and cartoons. When she threatens him with punishment, he tells her he's going to call CPS on her or that he's going to move in with his dad. She takes this threat seriously. When he comes home from his fathers is when he's the worse.

    It's hard to stay out of it sometimes. Me personally, I would whip his bare a$$ and ground him from his games and TV, then I would hand him the phone and tell him to call CPS and we would all have a good ol' talk.

    June 27, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • OBoy

      You are so right, I have 3 kids and none of them would dare act like that, the know I'm the parent in the house. Oh also, none of them are over weight

      June 27, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
  20. Momo

    I think it is important to eat healthy whole foods, not over-processed foods. I'm reading a book called In the Defense of Food and it talks about how much our diet has changed, supposedly for the better (low-fat), but we as a nation are getting fatter. Why is it that different countries that don't rely on a Western diet seem to be heart, diabetes, high-chloesterol-free. But once they move to a Westernized culture and adopt a westernized diet, lots of people start developing diabetes, etc?

    Why is it that doctors are starting to quietly say that foods rich in fats, especially Omega 3 fats, are important to our health? Why is it that most if not all of our overly processed foods lack Omega 3 fatty acids? Why is there so much salt and corn syrup in most of our foods? Why is it that a fly won't touch margarine, but will be all over butter?

    June 27, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Robin

    I watch about the same amount of TV, however the difference now is that I watch a lot of it on-demand and while I'm on the road through my laptop. The online TV services like, TVDevo website make this possible. So I guess the good news is that I do get out more often and bring the "TV" along with me.

    June 27, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. blah9999

    Parents cause childhood obesity. Nothing else. There...probably solved. Stop pointing fingers and blame who's really to blame.

    June 27, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Shaggy

    Not suprised! Parents,GET INVOLVED and stop blaming everyone and everything. You had these children and are letting your daycare and schools raise your children, and when they are at home, you just let them watch TV and play video games.
    No wonder everyone is fat, fat, fat! Keep watching TV, keep eating the things that are bad for you. There is No excuse. In this day in age, the age of information, it's all you ever hear, what to eat, what not to eat, but yet you keep on keepin on because it's work. Do us all a favor and start raising your kids and get involved. Just tired of the blame game and not taking responsibility for your actions.

    June 27, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Oh Please...

    Correlation does not prove causation. Kids may want something they see in a commercial, but it's no different than seeing a billboard or the other kid at lunch with some unhealthy food.

    Good parents are more influential in their kids lives than media images.

    June 27, 2011 at 14:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. mkjp

    First we have to get rid of the toys that come with a happy meal, now McDonalds isn't allowed to have ads that kids can see. This is not smoking that is addictive and deadly. Fast food is not really addictive. I don't understand why people can't say no to their kids. I understand that a kid sees something, they want it. I watch Top Chef and start craving the food I see them cooking. It's psychology. The difference between an adult and a child in this situation is that the child doesn't have the ability to run out to Burger King and grab a big mac and a soda. I know it can't be hard to keep saying no to a kid who complains and screams about something. But I complained about wanting stuff a lot as a kid and I didn't get what I wanted very much. That's what you sign on for as a parent. If you don't want your kids watching these ads, turn off the TV and send them outside to play. It's called responsibility.

    June 27, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. yvette

    i agree completely with Jill. Why does everyone, parents, want to blame everyone else for their parenting flaws. It is up to the parent to tell the kids no they cannot eat something or have something. You tell your kids not to smoke crack or do drugs and you are serious about it. Take the same parenting force and do not let them watch what they want, play certain games that they want, or sit around and eat all the junk YOU bought for the house, or junk food you brought from a fast food place. Be responsible for your own children. Everyone is so quick to blame someon is not in the house or in charge of the child for their parenting failures. give me a break!

    June 27, 2011 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. minnesota guy

    I am 28, so I was a child not too long ago. I can definitely see before my own eyes that a lot kids are fatter than they used to be. What's funny is that some of them are with parents that are actually NOT over weight. I think these parents just kind of let their kids do whatever. Parents are very busy and gone all the time- there used to be someone at home- no they are not. People are much more into their careers and e-mail than their families. Another thing that would make kids more physical is if parents actually made them do chores. Chores also teach kids how to take care of their things, fix things, and shows them how to do their part. This will help them when they get their own place. Kids are also probably messier than they ever were. They just don't really do anything.

    June 27, 2011 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. minnesota guy

    Remember too- if you want the government to regulate every little thing- like this for example- we lose our freedoms. The government doesn't need to regulate this- parents just need to. It's your choice.

    June 27, 2011 at 16:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Katie

    It's not the ads that are causing obesity, I see the xact same advertisements as everyone else, but it's a choice whether or not to buy the products. It's not the ads causing childhood obesity, it's the parents who choose to feed their children unhealthy meals, and don't make their children active.

    June 27, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Vic Strasburger, M.D.

    OK, folks - if you really need to blame someone, blame me - I wrote the policy statement.
    Here's the problem: whenever an urgent public health problem arises (smoking, drunk driving, obesity), we always blame the "consumer," not the industry. 5,000-10,000 ads for junk food and fast food a year? Blame the parents. Ronald McDonald and Happy Meals? Blame the parents. The causes of obesity are MULTIFACTORIAL - and it will take a multifaceted approach to keep kids from becoming obesity. That means parents limiting screen time, keeping TVs out of kids' bedrooms, and planning healthy meals; pediatricians asking about screen time; schools serving healthy meals and re-instating P.E.; and - yes - probably some government regulation since "self-regulation" by the food industry just isn't going to happen.

    June 27, 2011 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dave

    I read a lot of horn blowing about how so many of you are great parents. You say so every time you assert that You and Your kids aren't affected, etc. Well, if you are great, good for you. And your kids. And if you are great, have you noticed that this isn't about you?
    Take a look around at the very large proportion and absolute numbers of large children. This is about them. And they are experiencing problems. Whether you claim their problems are their parents or blame the advertising, they are what this is about.
    So get out of the way, please. Go thump your chests and be sanctimonious where it won't interfere with something important. Which is to say the insight and energy to apply to the issues those young people have now and will have in more serious ways later.

    For those who don't know, parenting and maintaining house and home, etc., is a lot of work. For large numbers of people the conditions are not those found in pretty magazines. Nor in enlightened arenas. Life is too seldom intellectual. People have to pick the battles they fight carefully, letting those that seem minor just go by the side. Lots of struggles and decisions are defaulted to the side of avoiding over-exhaustion. Kids learn young and fast. They pick the battles that parents will let fall. Do you imagine that many of these cases aren't happening in the grocery aisles?
    Of course kids sway their parents decisions.

    June 27, 2011 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Valerie

    Its all about exercise and watching what you eat. Some people need more help than that. I did the hcg diet and had great success. I recommend it to anyone who feels it could work for them. http://www.hcgplan.net

    June 27, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Doc Ock

    Again, the old adage applies; correlation does not imply causation. There is a correlation between the amount of TV a kid watches and obesity. There is certainly a correlation between the amount of TV watched and how much advertising a child is exposed to; however, unless the child is responsible for the family food budget and the type of groceries purchased for, and consumed by, the family, then I think the evidence for "cause" is not there.

    What is more likely is that children who are exposed to advertising for garbage food, pester mom or dad about buying the garbage food and parents simply give in. It also likely that garbage food is a regular part of the daily diet of the parents themselves which gives us a modeling behavior.

    Many factors at play here but I don't think advertising is a "cause" in this case. Even the things the article recommends all involve parental behaviors, not advertisers behaviors. This does not let advertisers off the hook as they most certainly have the ability to shape and create a demand for a product and are able to selectively reach a targeted audience based on the airtime they purchase for different types of TV shows.

    June 27, 2011 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. BrianTX

    I raised two kids, I always hated fast food commercials. Do you remember the McDonalds commercial where the baby is in the infant swing and goes from happy to sad when the golden arches appear and then disappear in the window?
    It's not only kids. Don't eat something for a couple days (yeah right) and then watch network tv or AMC or especially Nickelodeon in the afternoons. Those burger pictures don't make you hungry? How about that new Olive Garden cheese covered thing? Watch those people stuff food in their mouths and smack away and then slurp their drinks to the bottom. There is a subconscious suggestion.

    June 27, 2011 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Teri

      The fast food ones have no effect on me, but boy, those Olive Garden commercials..........we'll have Italian for a week after they start up a new campaign.

      June 27, 2011 at 23:44 | Report abuse |
  35. Teri

    If the parents don't buy it, the kids can't eat it. Period. Problem solved.

    June 27, 2011 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Joni TX

    Parents hold full responsibility for their child's obesity if its due to the food they are eating and not a medical condition. Any other reason is a lie.

    June 27, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. sigmunds

    Lets get some fat ass researchers alot of money and see why fat ass moms , give their fat ass kids more fat ass calories .
    .

    June 28, 2011 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. anobody

    Not if the TV is turned off.

    June 28, 2011 at 04:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. andrew nutra

    I think parents who buy the food for their children cause obesity.

    June 28, 2011 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sarah

    In addition to this article, you know what a good solution would be? Teaching your children about the media's role in our culture, what it does, what its trying to do, and how they can learn to not give in to temptations so easily. Open their eyes early on, and hopefully they will be less likely later on in life to waste 500 dollars on a "designer" purse, etc. Limit food options the same as you do with his or her allowance. As an example, let them know that they will be allowed one or two ice cream cones a week, month, whatever(I'm not sure how accurate that example may be), but it will hopefully instill in your child(ren) the ability to make wise choices that they can benefit from in the long run.

    July 15, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. John

    It's funny to read these arguments, everyone seems to think that it is mostly blamed on parents with poor buying habits, even though it isn't. If you read the article they also blame a lack of sleep and stress for the weight gain, which does hold true. So even if you feed kids healthy foods they might become overweight depending on their other lifestyle habits.

    November 9, 2011 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
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