A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics implicates the food industry’s aggressive marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products geared towards children and the epidemic of childhood obesity:
Obese children showed greater activation in some reward regions of the brain than healthy weight children when shown the food logos. Healthy weight children showed greater brain activation in regions of the brain associated with self-control, when shown food versus nonfood logos. Overall, healthy weight children self-reported more self-control than the obese children. This adds to the body of research showing that in certain situations, healthy weight individuals experience greater activation of control regions of the brain than obese individuals.
So now we understand why people seem to have greater will-power than others. But we’re talking about children here. Children don’t see an ad on TV and drive to the Giant Eagle or Piggly Wiggly to get their reward! It’s parents who buy this garbage! It’s parents who allow their kids to watch so much TV in the first place!
I always tell parents: If it’s in the pantry, it’s fair game. Don’t bring unhealthy and processed (ie. packaged products with chemical-looking ingredients you can’t pronounce) foods or beverages into the house! Don’t buy it in the first place! Just because your child wants “Chocolate Sugar Bombs Cereal” for breakfast doesn’t mean they have to have it. Don’t buy it! And for after-school snacks, there isn’t anything wrong with offering your child vegetables, fruit, or NOTHING. “Nothing” is a perfectly acceptable choice for your children to ponder.
Read Journal of Pediatrics blurb here.