Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Best and Worst of Food Marketing to Our Children

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Obesity (Photo credit: Paulo Fehlauer)

If you’re interested in food policy in relation to our national eating disorder, obestiy, visit the Yale Rudd Center website for all kinds of news and information.  Food marketing to children is a hot topic these days. For specifics, follow the link in a news item called “Food Marketing to Youth: The Best and the Worst of 2012”.

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and

Immediate health effects:

  • Obesity in childhood increases the risk factors for heart disease such as  high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Prediabetes is more prevalent in obese adolescents increasing the risk for full-blown diabetes, type 2.
  • There is a greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems leading to a low level of self-esteem.

Long-term health effects:

  • Obese children and teens tend to be obese adults. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as and obese adults are more at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoarthritis.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma  and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


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