Monday, June 17, 2013

Enticing Children

Many types of cereal come with a toy or children's  DVD in the box. I have noticed that it is almost exclusively the more highly-sugared varieties with artificial colors, marshmallows and/or a lack of whole grain that offer these extras. I wondered why.

It's just a guess, but I think cereal companies figure that parents will buy the healthier cereals anyway. They also will be the more likely choice of childless adults. Companies need to get the not so healthy cereals sold, so they add on the plastic goodies and bet on parents not saying "no" to a whiny child in the grocery store.

Many teen health programs also contend that  tobacco companies target teens and younger kids with their advertising methods.

I was speaking to a tobacco educator a few days ago and she was explaining how small, flavored cigars are sold for less money than candy. They are also displayed at kid-eye level if bright foil packages. I checked out a local shop and found that she was right, though the price was slightly higher than she had said. These cigars are no safer than cigarettes, but they don't carry the tax so they can be sold cheaply.

Studies show that between 80 and 90% of people who smoke begin before age 18. It is critical for the tobacco companies to hook high- schoolers if they want a future base of customers. It appears that they push by advertising on shows teens favor and in a manner that will catch their attention. For more info, try these links:

As parents, educators and youth ministers, we need to be aware of these tactics and arm our kids against them. Study after study shows that kids do listen to parents. Start telling kids young not to smoke, and keep telling them. Set the right example.
That goes for overly sugar, low-nutrient cereal and various other stuff that's not good for us, too.
How do you teach your kids to be healthy?


  1. I teach, preach, and sometimes reach them, although there's great great resistance!