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March 3, 2015
Who's To Blame for Obesity? AdLand?
 
Many people are blaming advertising for the obesity epidemic across the well-developed nations. The United States has a "big" problem with obesity, and our sister nation, Great Britain, has the highest childhood obesity rate in Western Europe.

With well-developed nations comes well-oiled, corporate machines. Is advertising to blame for the rise in obesity?

Simply put: no. But you're reading this article, so you know that.

Though we believe that those advocates of "be who you are" can be a little much, we do think that a balance can be found. As a gym regular who's studying to be a personal trainer, we see the benefits of being a healthy, physically appealing person. Just because one may be "bigger" than others doesn't mean that they are worse off than others.

Nor does it mean that all junk food is bad for you, either.

But, of course, people want to take the easy way out and blame advertising for the obesity problem. Indeed, in a poll in Britain, 66% of people thought that junk food advertising should be banned before 9 p.m.

Seriously?

Advertising is the way businesses inform, remind, and persuade consumers about the goods and services they offer. Advertising does not brainwash kids to believe that gummy bears will make them live to be 100 years old. Advertising does not advocate that kids start their day with a Butterfinger.

And kids cannot buy these products. It's the parents.

Must advertising be a cohort of the parental unit? We realize that there are many families that rely on digital offerings to entertain and distract the kids while the parents are working, but to force businesses to change the advertising model because "kids are impressionable" is ridiculous.

Parents, either teach your kids the value of nutrition, or don't allow them to come into contact with junk food advertising.

It's your call.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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