Children Affected (And Targeted) By Marketing Ploys

Whether they are in primary, senior or high school – children are the perfect fodder for food and beverage marketing.

Schools, particularly in the USA, are desirable marketing areas for food and beverage companies. The problem is that many of these marketed products are nutritionally poor, according to a study conducted by Yvonne Terry-McElrath, M.S.A., at the University of Michigan.

The study findings reveal that fast food was available to students at least once a week in 2012 in schools attended by 10,2% of elementary or primary school students, 18,3% of middle school or senior school students and 30,1% of high school students.

Overall, food coupons were the most frequent type of commercialism, accounting for 63,7% of elementary schools students. For middle and high school students, EBCs (exclusive beverage contracts) were most prevalent in schools, with 49.5% of middle school and 69.8% of high school students attending schools that have EBCs, according to the study.

“Although there were significant decreases over time in many of the measures examined, the continuing high prevalence of school-based commercialism supports calls for, at minimum, clear and enforceable standards on the nutritional content of all foods and beverages marketed to youth in school settings,” the authors conclude.

According to a report on medicalnewstoday.com and the American Heart Association, around one in three children in the US are overweight or obese, which puts them at risk for high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes and increasing blood cholesterol levels. This rising concern has meant that food and beverage companies that market unhealthy products have come under criticism as the tide towards a healthier school environment.