Kids, obesity and advertising

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Interesting column today on banning food advertising on kids' programming: Jacob Sullum: Teletubbies

Here are 3 good paragraphs:

In his book "Food Fight," Yale obesity expert Kelly Brownell -- who, like Kunkel, wants to eliminate advertising to children -- says, "It is easy to blame parents." No, it's not. It is easy to blame big corporations. Blaming parents means expecting them to take an active role in monitoring their kids' diets.

As New York University nutritionist Marion Nestle, another ad banner, suggests in her book "Food Politics," that is not a popular message. "Most parents of my acquaintance tell me they are constantly arguing with their children over food choices," she writes. "Many prefer to reserve family arguments about setting limits for dealing with aspects of behavior that they consider more important."

Please. If parents don't have the wherewithal to say no when their kids ask for something they saw on TV, their problems go far beyond the risk of chubby offspring.

Look, I have mixed emotions about advertising. I know it works. When Zteen was little, we watched NO television at all Sunday night through Friday afternoon. The TV was available on Saturday all day and on Sunday afternoon. Not much of it got watched, because that was when we were busy doing things as a family.

The moment we turned off the TV, we also turned off the "I Wants." By the 2nd Christmas after the TV turnoff, Zteen (then Zkid, I guess!) couldn't think of a single thing to want for Christmas. It took him WEEKS and WEEKS to finally decide he wanted a basketball. The same the next Christmas, and the same the Christmas after that. It was truly amazing.

So I know that watching Froot Loops commercials leads a kid to want them. What I don't get is parents who don't have the gumption to either feed the kid Froot Loops without wringing their hands or to tell the kids "Sorry, we aren't buyin' 'em!"

We adults are spoiled. Everything is supposed to be made easy for us. Even telling our own kids NO.


Good point. That's a great idea about turning off the TV throughout the week. My husband and I stopped watching TV several years ago when we realized we did not want to spend that much on the cable bill. So now all we have is a monitor, a VCR and a DVD, which we use to rent the occasional film. But I am immeasurably grateful that we do not have access to TV, especially after visiting relatives' homes and seeing the tripe that is on all the time. I'll be glad to save my kids from that stuff.

i'm on the opposite end of that spectrum. as die-hard products of the information age, we have satellite television with roughly a million channels to choose from. . .several of which we enjoy watching. we make great use of our DVR system, TiVo, which i highly recommend, because we can virtually eliminate commercials and fast forward through anything undesirable. it's almost as yummy as having your cake and eating it, too.

I never had a problem saying no. It was what came after. The first one, for example, never whined "puh-leeeze, Daddy, please-please-please." Instead,her face got sad, and then those eyes, two big wet pools of mahogany brown just looked at me, until I ended up apologizing for even having the word 'no' in my vocabulary and then asking if there was anything else I could get her. So whaddya do about that, Terry, hmmm?

Aaaah, doncha know Mr. Luse, that I have a heart of stone? The big green eyes of the Zteen welling up over Froot Loops and chocolate milk melted my heart not at all. I am a charter member of the MMITW organization--the Meanest Mommy In The World group. Our logo is a wire coathanger--taken directly from that movie Mommy Dearest about Joan Crawford.

Just ask the Smock. I AM a mean mommy!

When we were kids and we asked my mom for something, upon hearing the word 'no' we would wine 'whhhhyyyyy?' To which my mother would respond: "because I'm the meanest mom in the whole entire world, that's why." So, it looks like you have competition, MamaT.

We plan on limiting our children's TV intake, and they will have to choose their shows. I'll then record them (hopefully a DVR soon!), edit out commericals, and they can watch. No commercials, and shorter too!

MamaT is fulla beans. she is not a mean mama. hard-boiled, yes. mean, no.

I am in the Mean Mommy club, too, though I haven't had my serpent-tongued offspring actually hurl those words at me. How I smile when I think of the day he'll actually try it -- and gets only cheerful agreement in response....

Actually, I haven't had too many problems with the I-wannas. Hambet doesn't watch much commercial TV (his ration is doled out in PBS or videos.) It also helps that I buy cereal at Trader Joe's -- the cereal aisle is much shorter, so I only have to hear the pleading for "Puffs" (Barbara's Puffins) for a moment, as opposed to making that horrible trek down the cereal aisle at the regular store, passing all those sugar cereals.)

We do have some problems with "I-wannas" but Hambet doesn't seem to have clued in that the whining, crying, performing, etc only harden my heart. He hasn't tried the puppy-dog routine yet.



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on June 11, 2004 12:19 PM.

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