Anna Lappe, an author, activist, member of Food Mythbusters, and mother, provides a disturbing yet insightful look into how food companies target children and teenagers with their marketing. It’s a bit of a longer TEDx Talk, but pretty revealing. For those that just want the highlights, basically: food companies are evil. They spend about $2 billion on marketing specifically to children and teens every year. They use cartoon characters to promote junk food, the typical child sees 4600 ads for food and drink on television yearly, and programs put in place by Coca-Cola and similar companies run rampant through the school system, and food company’s social media reach allows them to collect unsettling amounts of personal data. Based on this, it’s almost unsurprising that in the past 30 years child and teen obesity has tripled. The facts are truly terrible, and downright disturbing, but Anna Lappe is not a total Debbie Downer; here’s where the music gets hopeful:
- Maine passed a statewide ban on marketing junk food in schools
- LA put a moratorium on opening new fast food franchises in certain neighbourhoods
- The campaign for commercial-free childhood stopped McDonald’s from advertising on report card envelopes
- There are several campaigns, programs, and initiatives all working towards providing children with the information they need to live healthy lives.