Argumentative Essay-The Impact Of Food advertising and Marketing Directed at Young Children

Argumentative essay

The impact that food advertising and marketing that is directed at young children has on their preference and diet


 Advertising and marketing have been considered omnipresent in the modern society. Recently, it is evident that the food and beverage industry has viewed adolescents and young children as a major target and market forces. This, therefore, has led to increased food advertisement over the social media and television with the young children being a major target in the marketing and specialized advertising efforts. Multiple channels and techniques have been sued to reach the children in order to ensure that they have influenced their food choice behaviour as well as fostering brand building (Story and French, 2004). The advertising and marketing channels include product placements, television, social media platforms, children targeted promotions and logo placements on products. Critics argue that food advertising on the channels which is directed to children has a negative impact.

Food advertising directed to young children has negative impacts on the children diet and preference. There is a strong relationship between the advertisements and the children’s food choice. It is evident that food advertising influences the eating behaviour, preferences, self-esteem, health, knowledge and diet of the children. 

The effects of food advertising and marketing on young children

The main independent spring of media and advertisement information about food products to children are through television.  Thus children get exposed to food advertisements. Exposure to food advertisements has contributed negatively affected the actual food intake for children in terms of diet and preference. Junky foods and snacks have appeared most in the advertisements influencing the food choice, consumption decisions, unnecessary purchase and increased desire which is unhealthy (Wiecha, Peterson, Ludwig, Kim, Sobol and Gortmaker, 2006). Clearly, children have had poor eating behaviours through influencing their choice and demands to consume the food in the advertisements without the knowledge of advertising and marketing programs intentions.

With the increased marketing and commercials of unhealthy beverages and junk food, the children’s health has been adversely influenced by the change in consumer behaviour and food preferences of children (Gunter, Oates and Blades, 2004). The food choices of children have been influenced by media-saturated environment. Exposure to advertising has influenced the consumption behaviour and food choices of children in that they are in need of the experimental setting by purchasing the foods. This has been a major weakness due to the increasing demands from the child who then gets used to the lifestyle that is shown on the social media platforms and advertisements on the television programs.

Advertising has led to eating and behavioural disorders in children, unnecessary purchasing, materialism and low nutritional food (Robinson, Harris, Thomas, Aveyard and Higgs, 2013).Children have paid attention to television food advertisements with the exponential rate increasing over the last few years. As a result, they have been exposed to varying products of food and beverages in the daily advertisements. Television advertisements have more effect on their food requests and selection more than the advises they receive from their parents. Children are immature and innocent hence believe the messages sent by the advertisers. The influence of children to request low nutrient and high-calorie foods has increased due to advertisements (Robinson, Harris, Thomas, Aveyard and Higgs, 2013). Children do not understand the marketing strategy and tend to get easily carried away by the junk food. This has led to consumption of low nutrient and high-calorie foods due to food promotion influences. 

Old children may comprehend that the food advertisements are meant to sell the products but still have the desire to the consumer the junky foods. For most of the teens and young children, they either identify the advertisement as fictional or real. Therefore, endorsing a product has the capability of motivating them to purchase or cause their parents to purchase them (Powell, Schermbeck, Szczypka, Chaloupka and Braunschweig, 2011). The aged children’s requests have also been impacted by advertisements because most of them have been seen ordering cakes, ice creams, soft drinks and fruit juices that are advertised ion televisions.  It is also evident that the food that most of the children are requesting were high in sugar and fat which are found in most advertisements. This, therefore, has changed the food choices among many children.

 Choosing low nutrient food and high calories food have influenced their health safety health causing health problems related to obesity/weight. Relatively, their purchase request has reflected the frequencies of the product advertisement. Junk foods like burgers, pizzas and soft drinks are heavily advertised during the child’s Television viewing time. This is done to develop a craving for the sugary, fatty and fast foods which have adversely affected their health adversely. Children being bombarded with unhealthy foods in the advertisements will double their unhealthy consumption of sweets and snacks. Most of the food advertisements have been about chocolate, chips, milk products, cakes and other junk foods.

Research has indicated that a large number of the youngsters have been observed unhealthy with high risks of obesity and overweight. When children are watching television advertisements they learn that high calorie-dense products that are high in sugar and fat taste great and that they are extremely healthy for them due to misleading information from the advertisements (Powell, Schermbeck, Szczypka, Chaloupka and Braunschweig, 2011). This has caused the increased unhealthy consumption in children.

Nutrition during childhood is essential for the growth of a child in terms of health and development of their well-being. Advertising and marketing have greatly changed the preference and consumer behaviour of children. This is because they are interested in consuming unhealthy food that they come across in the advertising and marketing channels. The advertisements have encouraged the consumption of unhealthy foods which has related to health problems. Ideally, the rising popularity of snacks and fast foods has led to increased heart problems, obesity, diabetes as well as other serious health diseases (Andreyeva, Kelly and Harris, 2011). The advertisers tend to hide the facts that the foods are unhealthy with so many advertisements bombarding marketing channels to influence the young children.

Children around the globe spend approximately three to four hours in the social media and television hence have great exposure. However, they face challenges in understanding the advertisements and television marketing programs without parent’s guidance. With most of the food commercial advertisements targeting the children, due to lack of knowledge, children are not able to differentiate between reality and fantasy. This has led to great confusion among the children who feel that they need to consume the products. Advertisers have adversely affected the imaginative quality of the children. This is because children have had unreasonable expectations of the food quality products advertised which have been stimulated directly through advertisements (Harris, Bargh and Brownell, 2009). Relatively, advertisements are meant to educate the children hence the information communicated should be accurate and truthful with full recognition that children learn more through advertisements and marketing programs that can affect their well-being and health.

Advertising and marketing channels have encouraged children to request their parents to purchase certain food products that they have seen in the commercials regardless of whether they are in need or not. Many advertisers have relied on this tactic to force the adults to get the children what they want. Children today have more decision making power and autonomy than in their previous generations which has influenced what they need their parents to buy for them (Boyland and Whalen, 2015). Parents that are unable to control the increasing demands of their parents have been forced to buy what the children desire. This has contributed to the children being used to the kind of lifestyle in the social media which has created an inappropriate impression in their minds about various material things such as certain sugary foods and snacks which has affected their purchasing and consumption behaviour negatively.

With increased attractive commercials, food advertising has impacted the self-esteem of the children. The children get attracted to the high trend products. This has made some of the children feel inferior to their peers if they do get the food products. This is why parents are being forced to purchase food products that they feel are unhealthy to satisfy their needs. The strong association between advertising and children’s demand has contributed to depressions in a case where the parents fail to purchase.


Most children cannot understand the difference between marketing and advertising programs and reality. With their high remarkable ability, they are able to remember the advertisement content which influences their food choices and preferences. It is clear that food advertising and marketing directed to the children has a negative impact on their food intake choices. There is a strong association between the advertisements and the children’s food choice. This has contributed to negative impacts on their diets, health issues, preference, self-esteem and depression that has been linked to food advertising. Therefore, it is clear that food advertising and marketing targeting young children from multiple channels have raised issues for priority actions due to the negative impacts.


Andreyeva, T., Kelly, I.R. and Harris, J.L., 2011. Exposure to food advertising on television: associations with children’s fast food and soft drink consumption and obesity. Economics & Human Biology9(3), pp.221-233.

Boyland, E. J., & Whalen, R. 2015. Food advertising to children and its effects on the diet: a review of recent prevalence and impact data. Pediatric diabetes16(5), 331-337.

Gunter, B., Oates, C., & Blades, M. 2004. Advertising to children on TV: Content, impact, and regulation. Routledge.

Harris, J. L., Bargh, J. A., & Brownell, K. D. 2009. Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behaviour. Health Psychology28(4), 404.

Powell, L. M., Schermbeck, R. M., Szczypka, G., Chaloupka, F. J., & Braunschweig, C. L. (2011). Trends in the nutritional content of television food advertisements seen by children in the United States: analyses by age, food categories, and companies. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine165(12), 1078-1086.

Robinson, E., Harris, E., Thomas, J., Aveyard, P., & Higgs, S. (2013). Reducing high-calorie snack food in young adults: a role for social norms and health-based messages. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity10(1), 73.

Story, M., & French, S. 2004. Food advertising and marketing directed at children and adolescents in the US. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity1(1), 3.

Wiecha, J. L., Peterson, K. E., Ludwig, D. S., Kim, J., Sobol, A., & Gortmaker, S. L. 2006. When children eat what they watch: impact of television viewing on dietary intake in youth. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine160(4), 436-442.

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