I am a pediatrician who takes care of many overweight children. I am disturbed by the effects of sports drinks, energy drinks, and soda on these children. The products are legal but very harmful to children in my opinion. What do you think is the best way for parents to counter the "consume this drink" messages kids receive? I'm looking for good strategies to help parents with this problem. Suggestions? Doc Smo, Charlotte, NC
- topicSignaturetagged by DocSmo, 7/9/13
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How does a parent negate the effects of advertising on their children?
Whenever my kids ask me, "Why do they use cartoons on that commercial?" or "Why do these fruit snacks have princesses on them?" or "Why do they tell me to eat that?" I give them the honest answer. I tell them that it's a company that wants to make money, and they can only make money when we buy what they make. We talk a lot about how companies market directly to children and how to realize that even though it looks like a good thing, it isn't always a good thing. Commercials make you feel good so you want to buy their products.
Commercials at my house are known as "dumbmercials". My kids know that commercials are essentially a scam that try and get people to buy things they don't need. If my kids ask for something that has a favorite cartoon character on it, and if it's crap, I tell them no and explain why. I tell them that we are not buying Campbell's soup with the Lightning McQueen character on it because it is loaded with salt, preservatives and other things that are not good for our bodies. I continue on and tell them we only eat homemade soup because it is made with real ingredients that help keep your body healthy so it can grow. They get it and NEVER give me a problem. They also know that that stuff is made of non-food, and that the company that makes it only cares about getting our money and not keeping us healthy. Honesty is the best policy.
DocSmo, a great resource for commercialism and childhood is a site called, "Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood". They do wonderful work and would be a wonderful resource for your clients: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/
Thanks for sharing that link. going to check it out! I think advertisement affects everybody particularly children.
We got rid of cable TV when DD was 2. They never really saw the stuff advertised.
We didn't buy or drink sodas until recently (DH and I have started drinking some low-sugar, natural sodas lately just "once in a while") so my kids didn't even really consider it an option.
Their idea of a "treat" drink is juice. I buy it sparingly, as it is loaded with sugar, but I'd rather they consider that a treat drink than a cola.
In regards to commercials, I have taught my kids that the purpose of advertising is to make you want something. As a viewer, you just have to be aware of what the marketers are trying to sell you.
Regarding your patients, I think you should encourage the whole family to move toward more water as the beverage we drink. I don't know how to encourage people who aren't personally motivated to behave this way, but I'd start with the suggestion that one should purchase a stainless steel canteen for everyone in the family. Then fill it with water before you leave to go to a sports event, or anything else. I might contact the local sports teams and encourage them to discontinue the troublesome habit of having a snack and gatoraide break after every practice.
Perhaps a spiel to the parents of your patients along the lines of "I want you to look at your life and habits, and see what changes you can make as a family that will benefit the health of all the members. As a suggestion, I'd like you to consider how many sports drinks, sodas, juices, and other sweetened beverages your family consumes in a week. Could you half the amount? Make them special occasion treats only? Eliminate all together?"
And, OP, I'd like to thank you for caring enough to seek out opinions.
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