Written by Sunny

Published: 19 Mar 2024

How To Protect Children From Junk Food Marketing
Table of Contents

Children get overwhelmed with commercials in the digital age, especially those promoting harmful foods and drinks. Junk food is heavily marketed, from eye-catching commercials that air during their favorite TV shows to alluring adverts on social media. It is imperative that we, as parents, educators, and other caregivers, put systems into place to shield kids from these deceptive marketing ploys and encourage better eating habits.

According to CyberGhost, due to the promotion of junk food, youngsters now get about 40% of their calories from sugar and saturated fat. Furthermore, 95% of kids eat too few veggies, and 60% consume too little fruit. Here are some strategies to protect kids from the negative effects of junk food marketing.

The Impact of Food Advertising on Children

Young children are unlikely to question the honesty and purpose of advertising since they are still in the “pre-cognition” phase of their cognitive defense (Smith, 2019). This information also highlights how food marketing harms kids by violating their right to appropriate information, as stated in Article 17 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (Smith, 2019).

Given that infants may recognize and acquire a craving for brands as early as 18 months old, this can seriously impair children’s mental development and influence their preferences well into adulthood (Obesity Health Alliance, 2017).

In addition to its negative effects on mental health, food promotion raises the likelihood that kids will become obese. In addition to the obvious health problems, overweight children are more likely to experience behavioral and emotional issues such as despair, low self-esteem, and poor social skills (UNICEF, 2019).

With the widespread use of digital media and technologies, even the most watchful parents find it challenging to protect their children from advertisements for unhealthy foods. However, parents are ultimately in charge of shaping their kids’ behaviors, particularly regarding their access to wholesome food and way of life.

Strategies To Shield Children From Junk Food Marketing

Adolescent health is being adversely affected by the significant obesity and bad diet crisis that the United States is currently experiencing. The promotion of extremely appetizing food that should only be eaten in moderation adds to the epidemic and puts kids and teenagers in particular danger.

Strict regulations and strategies will shield children from deceptive advertising tactics that promote unhealthy products and assist parents in choosing better foods for their children. Some of the strategies are discussed below.

Educate and Empower

Power comes from knowledge. Educating kids about the value of good nutrition and the consequences of bad eating habits might help them become more capable decision-makers. Introduce the idea of junk food and its detrimental impacts on health. To help kids understand why it’s important to restrict their intake of sugary snacks, fast food, and sugary beverages, use age-appropriate language and graphics.

Promote Critical Thinking

Kids should be taught to evaluate commercial statements critically. Instruct them to identify the persuasive strategies used to promote unhealthy products and to challenge the intentions behind commercials. Teach students that advertisements frequently distort the truth about items by using eye-catching slogans, vibrant packaging, and celebrity endorsements.

Limit Screen Time

Limit kids’ screen time to lessen their exposure to advertising. Limit how much time they spend watching TV and monitor their internet use. Use parental settings to block advertisements on websites and apps that kids use frequently. Encourage outdoor play and other non-screen activities to keep children interested and active.

Lead by Example

As kids pick up habits from their parents, set a good example by making healthy eating choices. Make healthy snacks and meal choices, and involve kids in meal preparation. Stress the value of moderation and balance over stringent dietary guidelines. Children can be inspired to make healthier decisions if you set an example of good eating habits.

Create a Healthy Home Environment

Keep healthful foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your fridge and pantry. To reduce children’s temptation, store sugar-filled candies and unhealthy snacks out of children’s reach. Offer a variety of healthy snack alternatives, like whole-grain crackers with cheese, yogurt, and fresh fruit or sliced vegetables with hummus.

Teach Media Literacy Skills

Help children acquire media literacy so they can responsibly use the digital world. Teach children to recognize false information and to tell the difference between opinion and fact. Urge them to critically assess the reliability of sources and consider the integrity of internet information, particularly food marketing.

Advocate for Change

Participate in campaigns to control the marketing of unhealthy food to minors. Encourage laws and programs that limit the promotion of unhealthy food in educational settings, in children’s media, and on digital platforms. Join advocacy groups, write to lawmakers, and sign petitions to help establish a healthier eating environment for kids.

Encourage Positive Reinforcement

Encourage good eating practices by praising and rewarding them. Give kids credit for selecting wholesome snacks and well-balanced meals. Provide non-food incentives to encourage healthy behavior, such as more playtime or an enjoyable excursion. Honor minor accomplishments and inspire kids to feel proud of themselves for choosing healthful options.

Foster a Positive Relationship with Food

Emphasize enjoyment and mindful eating to help kids form positive relationships with food. Urge them to follow their hunger cues, enjoy their food, and eat sensibly. Rather than categorizing food as “good” or “bad,” concentrate on providing their bodies with healthful, nutrient-dense meals.

Provide Nutritional Education

Include nutrition instruction in extracurricular and academic programs. Children should be taught the value of a varied diet, the need for a balanced diet, and the part nutrients play in maintaining general health. Incorporate experiential learning opportunities, including cooking lessons and gardening tasks, to cultivate a more profound understanding of a nutritious diet.


It takes a multifaceted strategy that equips kids with knowledge, critical thinking abilities, and healthy behaviors to shield them from the marketing of junk food. Children may make informed decisions and build lifetime habits that support health and well-being if we teach them about nutrition, encourage media literacy, and provide a supportive family and school environment. By working together, we can give the next generation the tools they need to reject the marketing of junk food and embrace a healthier future.

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