Can T.V. Commercials Damage Children’s Health?

by lyanez on December 9, 2016 - 1:34pm

            In this research, they try to answer why is it that there is a big distinguishing contrast with Latino children experiencing higher obesity rates, over children who speak only English. Dale Kunkel and colleagues (2013) found out that that the main reason for Latino children to be at bigger risk for obesity is because food advertisements on Spanish-language television commercials advertised foods/beverages that have no nutritional value. Another big influencer to confirm this main idea, is that they found that all the fast food/non-nutritional food commercials were shown during specific times when children were more available, influencing them to eat those types of foods.

           What initially got me interested into reading more about this research was because I wanted to see what made Latino kids have higher obesity rates. Before reading into this article, I had the notion that it was a stereotype, but the article had a great method of sampling and provided excellent support for answering the question “why” and “how can we change it.” The researchers looked at how many hours of food commercials were shown on big Spanish-language cable networks (like Telefutura, Telemundo, etc.) They compared the data between the Spanish-language commercials and the English-language commercials, by looking at the nutritional value of the foods. The results tell everything. In the Spanish-language television ads, the study found 84.2% of 100% were not seen as a part of a healthy diet. (p. 1090). Another important detail about the results was that nearly half of the Spanish-language commercials were shown on specific times, set strategically by the food companies. You might be asking, why does it matter the times they show these types of commercials? It matters because the times are during weekdays and Saturday mornings, where more children are glued to the TV. I hope that you read this article and understand the importance of this study, like I did. From reading into this social science research I can tell that there needs to be improvements with public health policies, once and for all, so that the rise of obesity among Latino children will stop. It is so important for everyone to know how significant food commercials can be, so that next time when you go grocery shopping, you know what to pick and what to not pick. Many commercials who are selling their food product to the public and labeling it “healthy”, and most likely are not healthy, according to the denotative meaning of the word, healthy, or by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ food rating system.

Reference: Dale Kunkel , Dana Mastro , Michelle Ortiz & Christopher McKinley (2013) Food Marketing to Children on U.S. Spanish-Language Television, Journal of Health Communication, 18:9, 1084-1096, DOI: 10.1080/10810730.2013.768732 


I personally think that T.V advertisements, seen on a regular basis by children causes a misrepresentation and a violation to the autonomy. I believe that advertisements involves a view regarding the misrepresentation of women and men throughout the ads. In fact, it shows wrong images of both sexes, which can changes children point of view, and enhance the gender roles. Advertisements are also a violation to the autonomy of children because it manipulates them in order to show them a view on how they should act, what they should buy or who they should be, instead of offering them the opportunity to really be who they want to be, without the impairment of their freedom and autonomy, which is in fact two aspects shown in throughout the human's rights.

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