Fast-Food: The Negative Impact Of Fast Food

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In light of increased consumption of fast food by young people and its negative influence on their diet and health, public health advocates and government officials have expressed concern about marketing that encourages young people to consume fast food. In 2006, fast food restaurants spent approximately $300 million in marketing specifically designed to reach young people, more than any food category except for carbonated beverages.30 Fast food restaurants spent as much as marketers of juices, non-carbonated beverages and snack foods combined, and nearly two and a half times the amount spent for candy and frozen desserts. In addition, fast food marketers spent an estimated $360 million on toys distributed as premiums with children’s meals. When added to their other marketing expenditures, spending on fast food marketing programs targeted to children and teens totaled $660 million. This amount is more than 200 times the $3 million communications budget for the “5 A Day” campaign, a joint venture with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the food industry, to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption.31Approximately two-thirds of fast food marketing budgets was spent on traditional TV and radio advertising.32 In 2007, fast food advertising comprised 22% of TV food ads viewed by children (ages 6 to 11 years) and 28% of those viewed by adolescents.33…show more content…
Fast food restaurants located in poorer African American neighborhoods also promote less-healthful foods and have more in-store advertisements compared to restaurants in more affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods. The 2010 report by the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity explicitly addresses the potentially harmful effects of fast food marketing, noting the frequency with which children eat at fast food restaurants and calling on restaurants to “consider their portion sizes, improve children’s menus, and make healthy options the default choice whenever

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