Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fast Food F.A.C.T.S.

They’re going to get to your kids one way or another.  TV advertising may be decreasing but use of social media is increasing.  When Johnny uses your iPad or mobile phone to play games, he is being exposed to ads.  When John is on Facebook or You Tube, he is bombarded by ads.  When John Sr. surfs the web, ads abound. 

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that over a 3 year span, from 2009 to 2012, there were 10% fewer ads for fast food directed toward young children.  Good news.  But we all know that TV “screen time” has been replaced by other screens, and advertising on them is just as effective.
Social media and mobile app ads may not speak to us like characters and celebrities on TV ads, but they beckon by wiggling, scrolling, and by being presented as games.  Go to many food brand websites and there is a “kid’s corner” where games involving the products are offered.

I’m not anti-fast food.  Food can be fast and healthy, fast and fresh.  But more often than not, we throw caution (and moderation) to the wind while waiting in the drive thru.
By the way, what happens when you order some standard fast food items?  Nutritionists at The Nutrition Education Store created some interesting visuals, giving us their version of a fast food commercial:

·        A large serving of fries fills an entire dinner plate – would you do that at home?

·        A double burger, large fries and sweet tea brings over 1500 calories into your car and would fill 2 dinner plates and 4 glasses at the dinner table – would you do that at home?

I’m also a realist – fast food is here to stay, as is technology and advertising.  Just be mindful about what you order, why you order, and for whom you are ordering.  You can order just the sandwich – you don’t have to order the meal.  You don’t need the value size just because it is cheaper.  And Johnny doesn’t need the dinner plate serving of fries.
Be mindful.

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