This study is perhaps stating the obvious – that both the media and parents can influence children’s food choices. There is concern re the possible negative effect that media advertising could have on children’s choices leading them to choose the unhealthy option.
Researchers at Texas A&M International University took 2 groups of children aged 3-5 years and showed them cartoons with adverts between the cartoons. One group saw an advert for French fries and the other group saw an advert for apple slices with dipping sauce. Afterwards, the children could choose a coupon for either food and half the parents encouraged the healthy option and the other half remained neutral.
71% of those who viewed the advert for French fries chose French fries when parents remained neutral and this dropped to just 51% when parents encouraged the healthy option.
46% of those who viewed advert for apple slices chose French fries when parents remained neutral and this dropped to 33% with parental encouragement to take the healthy option.
They demonstrated that media advertising does influence children’s choices and parents can also affect this but the latter was perhaps less than the researchers were expecting. They have suggested that whilst the media can negatively influence choices (as it did in this study) that it could also have a positive effect if it was used to promote healthy choices.
Indeed I am sure it is not just children’s choices that are affected by advertising but also adult choices. We are all impacted daily by a huge barrage of information from television, radio, internet, newspapers, magazines etc and each of those messages comes with an energy. We are energetic beings and as such we can be affected by the energy of the messages we receive – perhaps more than we currently realise. Hence why it is important to develop the ability to ‘observe and not absorb’ (SB) so that we do not take on or get affected by all the stuff eg through media, that is coming at us on a daily basis.
Furthermore rather than taking on these external messages from the media and allowing them to influence us, we can instead listen to our own internal feelings about what feels loving and caring for us to eat. Of course this is a huge topic with so many factors that can affect our food choices eg having a bad day at work, being emotional, seeking comfort or reward through food etc.
However, the underlying priniciple is the same – “feel what to eat, not eat what you feel” (Miranda Benhayon). In other words, connect to that source of love and gentleness inside and feel what to eat, rather than making choices from the emotions of anger, sadness, depression and so on. Follow your internal barometer and listen to the body rather than being influenced by external factors.
Thus it would also help to encourage children to really feel what to eat and to feel the consequences of their choices on the body afterwards. To encourage them to feel what food would be loving and caring for the body on a regular basis such that they can learn to clearly discern for themselves the food choices that will be nurturing and caring for the body and not be so impacted by the outer world and the media.
Do you feel you are affected by media advertising? What other factors do you feel influence your food choices? Feel free to comment or share your experiences.