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  1. #1
    adamcakes
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    Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    We all know McDonald's food is bad for you, and yes it can be eaten safely in moderation, but how does the ADVERTISING of McDonald's food affect children and their eating habits?

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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Adam, your contention lacks support.

    Please support your assertions that Mcdonald's food is bad for the health and that it's advertising may be equally bad.

    It would seem to me that some food at McDonald's is bad but then again, the same can be said for every restaurant.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vandaler View Post
    It would seem to me that some food at McDonald's is bad but then again, the same can be said for every restaurant.
    Ever watch Supersize Me? It is good scientific support that fast food is crap. Sure, fast food restaurants sell salads and grilled chicken sandwiches, but the majority of their food is unhealthy.

    Advertising of food for children, in general, is horrible. Sugared cereals with toys in the boxes, brightly colored and sugary yogurts and fruit snacks. Happy Meals (though they at least try to sell the Apple Dippers now...in a sugary caramel sauce). It's no wonder I can't get my kids to touch broccoli. When do they ever advertise it???
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Last I checked, young kids can't go out and buy McDonald's without their parents' assistance. My 6-year-old will see an advertisement for a Happy Meal toy and want to go, but it's my choice to take him. Even then he'll only eat fries. But before we go he has to eat something of nutritional value. With that said, there is some relatively healthy food at McDonald's, like apple wedges and salads, so no one is forcing you or your kids to eat a crappy hamburger.

    But back to the OP. Kid's eating habits are not guided by advertising, but rather by their parents' decisions to allow them what to eat or not eat.

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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.
    - Wayne Gretzky

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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Myth View Post
    But back to the OP. Kid's eating habits are not guided by advertising, but rather by their parents' decisions to allow them what to eat or not eat.
    While you have a point, it would make the job of parents a lot easier if the majority of options...everywhere...weren't unhealthy ones.

    You can't downplay the role advertising plays in society. Whether it's the parents responsibility or not, advertising encourages kids to WANT unhealthy things.

    If they advertised a SALAD with a cool toy enough times, the kid would want that, too and then the parent wouldn't have to "battle" their kids. Is that really lovable parenting? I'm not saying give in. I'm with you. My kids don't get junk unless they eat healthy, but getting them to eat healthy is a fight every time.

    In the documentary, Supersize Me, they did studies regarding that. They made fruit and veggies sound appealing and when kids were left to choose what they wanted to eat, they reached more for the fruit and veggies than the junk.

    Ultimately, yeah...advertising does not force the hand to feed, but it sure does a number on making the brain decide what that hands wants.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    However its not the responsibility of the advertisments to make parents lives easier. They are there to make money for the business, which in this case is Mcdonalds. I'm not saying thats right, but, its true. Therefore it does in fact just come down to the parents, IMHO.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamcakes View Post
    We all know McDonald's food is bad for you, and yes it can be eaten safely in moderation, but how does the ADVERTISING of McDonald's food affect children and their eating habits?
    I honestly think that McDonalds is going to face a downward trend soon enough. My family is very unhealthy. They eat out a lot, eat high calories with low nutritional value, and live a sedentary lifestyle. And yet despite that, they hardly ever eat at McDonalds. In fact, few of my friends do (who range in diet and are usually between 20-30) as well. The likelihood of any of them going to McD's for any meal is nigh unheard of and this trend seems to be prevalent. I honestly doubt McD's commercials will get too far with children, because few parents are willing to eat there nowadays.


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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    I wonder if there's any truth to the notion that McDonald's is probably the least unhealthy for children, since (at least when I was young) they are extremely active and burn through lots of calories. Although I have read from multiple sources that childhood obesity is a growing problem, but I suspect the best solution to that is better parenting--make your kids be active instead of sitting around playing video games or watching television, etc.
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  10. #10
    adamcakes
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    I wonder if there's any truth to the notion that McDonald's is probably the least unhealthy for children, since (at least when I was young) they are extremely active and burn through lots of calories. Although I have read from multiple sources that childhood obesity is a growing problem, but I suspect the best solution to that is better parenting--make your kids be active instead of sitting around playing video games or watching television, etc.
    Personally, I don't think that McDonalds is necessarily the most unhealthy option for children, however it is certainly not one of the healthy options. In general, the most popular foods on their menu are extremely high in salt and fat.

    I think what makes McDonalds seem "the worst" is that they advertise directly to children. They entice young children to eat at their restaurants by offering toys as rewards. Sure there's the "carrot sticks" and "fruit bag" options, but no child wants that, BELIEVE ME. Children simply do not ask for carrots and fruit as a replacement for fries.

    What I want to discuss is, do you think the way they advertise the food is perhaps MORE harmful to children than the food itself? Sure it's the parent's job to keep their children healthy, but I think it's more complex than that. Children are specifically targeted, probably because of their naivety through adverts including (or at least used to include) fun characters such as Ronald McDonald. I can't really see that mascot being designed to appeal to grown adults now surely? Children then nag parents for food until the parents are driven to insanity and eventually consent to a McPig-out. That's if it takes any nagging at all.

    How about the McDonalds brand in general? I read about a study carried out that involved about 200 children who tasted McDonalds food in unlabelled boxes, and then tried McDonalds food in the McDonalds brand boxes, and all favoured the food in the branded packaging. Do you think the BRAND of McDonalds gives the food it's "flavour"? I can't say the food in McDonalds is particularly tantalizing, but something must be dragging us back week-in week out.

    What about their jingle on the ads? I don't know about the adverts in the USA and other countries, as I'm British. Anyway, I thought about this a few weeks ago whilst talking to my dad. Over here, there is a jingle played at the end of each advert followed by "I'm lovin' it". And a few months after that had been played often, McDonalds began leaving out the "I'm lovin' it" part and started to just play the jingle. The result? People actually managing to to instinctively finish the jingle with the slogan out loud and without thought. McDonalds have also been known to advertise subliminally during television shows by flashing 1-frame logos at audiences.

  11. #11
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    make your kids be active instead of sitting around playing video games or watching television, etc.
    And that brings up an excellent point which goes together with the unhealthy eating. As you said, when we were younger it seems we were always active. I'd played outside a lot with the neighborhood kids. We went to the park. Rode bikes, skateboards, skinned up my knees and elbows. Nowadays it seems kids stay inside playing video games or watching DVDs. Again, this is the parent's fault. My son plays video games, but that is limited to certain days and hours. I make a point to go outside with him and throw the football around. Or we sometimes run around the house re-enacting Star Wars. The point is it's not just unhealthy eating that's causing our kids to be fat, it's the seditary lifestyle we let them fall in to. I bet if you drive around any middle class neighborhood, you won't see many kids playing outside, because they are all inside with their Playstations, Wiis, and ipods.


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    Quote Originally Posted by adamcakes View Post
    I think what makes McDonalds seem "the worst" is that they advertise directly to children. They entice young children to eat at their restaurants by offering toys as rewards.
    Solution: either grow a back-bone as a parent or don't let them watch so much commerical tv.
    Last edited by Wolf Myth; January 6th, 2009 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  12. #12
    adamcakes
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Myth View Post
    Solution: either grow a back-bone as a parent or don't let them watch so much commerical tv.
    So therefore you actually agree with the point?

    I'm not so much wanting a solution but more of an opinion. My second post reiterates my intent in debating the advertising, not the reasons behind childhood obesity.

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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Myth View Post
    Solution: either grow a back-bone as a parent or don't let them watch so much commerical tv.
    You must have perfect children. Mine certainly can not be as perfect as yours.

    Just as we can not shelter our children from scary things like peer pressure, drugs, the rain, our children will be exposed to many negative things in life and parents only a minimal impact on how that affects them.

    It's all well and good to say "good parents make their kids be active and don't let them watch tv and don't let them eat junkfood" but it does mean that companies have zero responsibility in what products they try to pawn off on people.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Americans tend to look at information as neutral in that it is up to people to control and condition their own thoughts. If McDonalds can train you like a seal to finish their jingle and your kids become hopeless McMuffin addicts then its your own fault. The flip side of this is if you have a particular religious or political view it isn't the governments place to protect others against it by censoring you.

    I tend to stand pretty strongly in that camp as well. I'll remember jingles but I've never felt compelled against my will to eat or buy anything. I watched plenty of TV as a kid and never felt compelled to buy everything I saw. I was a weird kid, but not super powered I'd say.

    America is a land of temptation and as democracy and capitalism spreads so will be the rest of the world. That's one of the reasons our culture is distrusted. We tend to allow persuasive and not always benign messages to go out and we even celebrate them on occasion. The Gov tries to counter with healthy messages but its an uphill battle when there isn't a profit to be made from it.

    Food is especially tricky because nutritional science is still a pretty divided field and not everyone reacts to the same food the same way. Making policy based on science that is somewhat nebulous is probably a bad idea. If folks can't figure out how to eat, well there isn't much hope for them I'm afraid.

    Eating is mostly cultural, if the US and other western countries want to stop pigging out and getting fat they need to sort out what the problems are and find solutions of a cultural nature.

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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Why is such a big deal made of obesity (no pun intended)? Fat is fun. Pigging out is fun. Having a Bic Mac, fries and a large coke is fun. Geez. Stop acting like a bunch of pussies. Americans are the most productive people on the planet. What more do you want? If we can be productive and fat, more power to us. The skinny French can't work more than 6 hours a day, 4 days a week. The average American works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Out fat asses are 3 times more productive than they are. This whole thing is about jealousy. The rest of the world is pissed because we work harder, play harder, and eat more. Think about this. America's favorite sport involves two teams of men, many of whom weigh over 300 pounds, ramming into each other. The Japanese, a fairly productive society, only has enough 300 pound fat men to offer single man bumping matches (sumo). Name another sport where well-conditioned athletes and rotund fat men compete on the same field and where the fat men are considered athletic equals. I don't condemn McDonalds, In N Out, or the Hometown Buffet. I salute these factories of American consumption. You want skinny children, move to Kenya.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Are you more productive than the chinese... Those little people can really work!
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by adamcakes View Post
    We all know McDonald's food is bad for you, and yes it can be eaten safely in moderation, but how does the ADVERTISING of McDonald's food affect children and their eating habits?
    It doesn't. McDonalds does not affect childrens eating habits - their parents change the childs eating habits by continually taking them to Macca's because they are too lazy to cook and the brat wants a Happy Meal.

    You can advertise Macca's all you like, but they arent the ones driving the kiddies to and from the store, and they are not the ones handing over the money for the kids burger meals.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Why is such a big deal made of obesity (no pun intended)? Fat is fun. Pigging out is fun. Having a Bic Mac, fries and a large coke is fun. Geez. Stop acting like a bunch of pussies.
    I think there is a difference between being large and being unhealthy. I wouldn't say football players are fat, nor unhealthy. You can't play football for 3+ hours every day and be unhealthy. Now if these guys were sitting on the couch every night watching tv, I'd be concerned for their health. Obesity is on the rise in America, and guess what: unhealthy Americans drive up everyone's health insurance. The best way to bring down medical costs is to be proactive with your health. Eat right, exercise, don't smoke. Burgers and fries are okay occasionally, of course. It goes back to the ole ideology that things in moderation are fine, it's the extremes that are dangerous. Reminds me of some of our political discussions!

    But what about the OP's point that advertising affects a child's eating habits. I think that's only the case when parents are weak and give in to their child's incessant whining for junk food. Yes, parents are to blame for a lot of their children's bad habits. Ever watch Nanny 911? You'll see what I mean.


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by Tarja Turunen View Post
    You can advertise Macca's all you like
    Is that what Australians call McDonald's? LOL. Sounds like an Australian word. In America I hear it called Mickey D's a lot, I guess because of Mickey Mouse, I dunno.


    _________________________________ Post Merged _________________________________


    Quote Originally Posted by HappyLady View Post
    You must have perfect children. Mine certainly can not be as perfect as yours.
    I'm sure they are not. My son doesn't even like hamburgers, and will sometimes eat broccoli without a fight.
    Last edited by Wolf Myth; January 6th, 2009 at 09:11 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf Myth View Post
    I think there is a difference between being large and being unhealthy. I wouldn't say football players are fat, nor unhealthy. You can't play football for 3+ hours every day and be unhealthy. Now if these guys were sitting on the couch every night watching tv, I'd be concerned for their health. Obesity is on the rise in America, and guess what: unhealthy Americans drive up everyone's health insurance. The best way to bring down medical costs is to be proactive with your health. Eat right, exercise, don't smoke. Burgers and fries are okay occasionally, of course. It goes back to the ole ideology that things in moderation are fine, it's the extremes that are dangerous. Reminds me of some of our political discussions!
    The best way to reduce health insurance is to stop subsidizing it so every individual pays what it takes for an insurance carrier to cover them. Then, it wouldn't matter to you how obese your neighbor has become.
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    Re: Is McDonald's advertising promoting harmful habits in children?

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyLady View Post
    You must have perfect children. Mine certainly can not be as perfect as yours.
    Ha. I haven't had commercial television in my house since my daughter was 9 months old. I don't deal with nearly the crap most parents deal with. And trust me, she's no angel. She's my devil spawn. She's JUST like me. I'm going to have a hell of a fight on my hand in ten years.

    Just as we can not shelter our children from scary things like peer pressure, drugs, the rain, our children will be exposed to many negative things in life and parents only a minimal impact on how that affects them.
    You know, it's really an interesting thing. I don't shelter my daughter. I don't have to. She's quicker than I ever dreamed she would be. I answer every question she asks as simply and honestly as I can. My husband, thankfully, does the same. In fact, he just had the conversation with her a couple of days ago (after my ultrasound) that babies come out of certain body parts... And you know what she asked? "Does it really get THAT big???" She's great.

    She goes to a public school and she spends time with family and friends away from me. At both places she's exposed to the kind of commercialism I try to make my home a haven from. She's not sheltered, she's just not innundated (I probably spelled that incorrectly). And trust me, mommy has the strongest will of all. Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Bratz, no way in hell. She has nothing in my house that has any of those things on it. She has a guitar at her nanna's (my friend's who've been around her for her entire life) that's just like Hanna Montana's guitar. She's got a Bratz kereoke thing which is amazingly tasteful. But aside from those two objects, she doesn't get all the crap all the other kids at school do and she's perfectly happy.

    Let's move on to fast food. My child has eaten all over the place, all different kinds of food. She likes vegetables. She also likes candy bars and french fries. My kiddo doesn't eat junk to eat junk. She eats it only as a reward for super-fantastic behavior (and never before dinner) or as a desert. Some things aren't desert... fries for example. We've had fries in my home once in the last year. We've eaten out some, as I'm sure everyone has or does, and she's had fries on some of those occasions. But really, it's just not an option in our home. We have one day a week for the burger/hot dog thing. We have one day a week for pizza, which is amazingly nutritious beyond the whole greasy as hell thing. We generally have a meat, a bread/grain, a dairy, and a vegetable for dinner, every day. She doesn't eat a plethora of chips/candy/cookies period, even as desert.

    What exactly does this mean? Do I shelter my child? No. Do I always deny her the things which could hurt her if used/eaten/taken/whatever in excess? No. I teach her moderation. I teach her when things are appropriate and when they aren't. Which things are ok once in a while and which things are always good. I teach her respect for herself and her peers and adults. She's not perfect, and I'm not perfect, but I am responsible for her upbringing, and I take that responsibility as seriously as you could ever imagine. I take the time to instill "good habits" like less on the soda and more on the 100% fruit juice (not from concentrate) and good, old-fashioned water. Those are things which are going to benefit her for the rest of her life. That's my job. Endlessly indulging her obsession with Hannah Montana? That's not something that's ever going to benefit her, now or in the future. Teaching her that indulging herself once in a while, and not at the expense of health or well-being is ok... that's my job. You say I'll have a minimal impact on how things will affect her. I sincerely disagree. I will have a minimal impact on whether or not she's exposed to these things in her life, but I can have an immense impact on how she chooses to handle those situations. Can I make choices for her when she's not in my immediate care? Of course not. But I can certainly arm her with what she needs to make the best decision. Whether she makes that decision or not is up to her.

    It's all well and good to say "good parents make their kids be active and don't let them watch tv and don't let them eat junkfood" but it does mean that companies have zero responsibility in what products they try to pawn off on people.
    This is something I have a hard time with. It seems like you're trying to absolve people of being responsible for their own actions. I can understand if someone lied, like the cigarette companies did in the 50s, putting out patently false information about the health effects of smoking. That kind of deception removes a person's ability to truly consent. Consent without all the facts is simply not consent. But unless you've been living in a bomb shelter since the 70s, you know that certain things are harmful to your body. You know, for the most part, which things are ok once in a while and which things you should just avoid completely. McDonald's food is not meant to be a single source of dietary nutrition. McDonald's doesn't claim that it should be. People know the ill effects of eating too much fast-food, yet they still choose to do it. THAT is why McDonald's isn't to blame. They provide a good that people want to buy. There's nothing wrong with that. That people abuse it is their own problem.
    "And that, my lord, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped." ~ Monty Python


 

 
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