Many families enjoy drinking and tasting the sweetness of sugary beverages. However, these drinks are one of the main contributors to childhood obesity. Sugary beverage companies spend billions of dollars every year creating advertisements that promote their products, like soda, energy drinks, and blended coffee drinks, through tailored and misleading advertisements to children and parents. According to Robin Marwick from About Kids Health, children have a significant influence on family purchases by nagging their parents enough to buy what they want. Marketers from the sugary beverage industry use this to their advantage to tailor advertisements that target children through TV and social media. These tailored advertisements influence kids to choose sugar-sweetened beverages over healthier options, like water. Sugary beverage companies may even create misleading advertisements to influence parents into thinking that their products are healthy for children, for example by showing images of sports players and happy families drinking sugary beverages.
Just one serving of a sugary drink is usually more than what a child should consume in a day. One can of Pepsi has 41 grams of sugar, 159 calories and 0 nutritional value. According to the American Heart Association, a child’s added sugar intake should be less than 6 teaspoons or 25 grams per day. When children regularly consume drinks with high amounts of sugar, they can develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems that not only affect a child’s quality of life, but their future as well. Parents can help their children avoid obesity and the health complications that go along with it by paying attention to the amount of sugar listed on the nutrition facts panel on the back of the package, rather than just the advertising on the front of the package.
Being aware of the negative impacts of sugary beverages and predatory advertising may help parents make better health choices and encourage their children to do the same. But when families are up against corporations spending huge amounts of money to sell unhealthy drinks to their children, parents need help. Schools, elected officials, and community members can all help parents make the healthy choice the easy choice for their children.
Learn more about how the sugary beverage industry creates advertisements to target children at About Kids Health and about the impact sugary beverages can have on your community at Kick the Can.