How do the media affect teen's food choices? Discuss it in a paragraph.

14 Answers

MaudlinStreet's profile pic

MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

I also agree with #3 that these are the foods that are readily available to teens. Think of teens whose parents work late into the night, or don't have a fully stocked kitchen. How much easier is it to stop at a drive-thru on the way home? At my site, seniors are allowed to go off campus for lunch. They all head to the quick, cheap drive-thrus. Although my site has strict nutrition guidelines (as do all schools in California now), students complain about the taste, & pine away for the greasy pizzas and burritos they used to get. As everyone has mentioned, much of this has to do with advertising. Carl's Jr. commercials seem to be the worst, as they generally picture gorgeous women eating burgers (or more recently, salads that probably have the same number of calories), or project a hyper-masculine connection with meat.

I try to set a good example in my own classroom. I teach sophomores and seniors, & I drink a liter of water a day. They're now used to seeing the giant water bottle on my desk. I myself am a vegan, & since I'm usually their first introduction to the term, I talk about what I eat & invite them in at lunch to show them that I don't subsist on green salads & tasteless tofu. By the way, I'm not on a mission; I could care less how my students eat due to any philosophical beliefs. But I am concerned for their health, & I want to encourage them to make the best choices possible for themselves. We also talk about food as a cultural choice, and in what ways our society supports a fast-food diet.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Teens these days are better educated than ever before about good nutrition, healthy diet and what is good for them (fruit,wholemeal bread and carbs, water,green vegetables) and what is bad for them (burgers,pizza,fries,fizzy drinks,) - even in homes where the adults do not set a good example by what they put on the table we know that the teens should be getting this information at school. So, in general, if teens make unwise unhealthy choices it is often a deliberate conscious choice to eat unhealthy options. There are many temptations in life to take unhealthy alternatives - food is just one of them - but the media doesn't make the tempting decisions any easier for young people. Many families put a healthy evening meal on the table which the teens appreciate and will eat. Then, just before bedtime when hungry thoughts might resurface, advertisers choose slots to push burgers, fries, tacos and pizzas. This suggests to impressionable young minds that they need to eat again.

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ggunkel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

It is not only affecting the diet of teens, but of the populace as a whole. Teens are exposed to a barrage of commercials, and are often more naive than older adults as to the truth level in them.  Often lacking a good homecooked meal due to the go-go-go lifestyle of today, they gravitate toward a less expensive fast food meal when eating out. Teens see older adults eating fast food and they think it is fine. You do not find many ads for local diners on t.v., but there are plenty for fast food, and that's what the teenagers are exposed to. Teenagers also do not have the first hand experience, as many adults have, of the results of poor diet. They think because they can keep weight off when they are younger, they will never have a problem with fast food and weight gain.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The media affects teens' food choices by offering them a quick, instantly gratifying, "cool looking", so-hip, miracle snack that will make them either "grow wings", or "really satisfy them" or whatever their motto claims it can do.

The reality is, however, that this is the same effect on adults. The media takes extra measures in preparing an atmosphere and a scenario that will go straight to our frontal (emotional) lobes, and with enough color, music, movement, and appeal it will make it happen.

Keep in mind, that teenagers have an underdeveloped and overstimulated frontal lobe, so that should show you why it always seems to do the trick with them.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would say that there could be several ways to answer this question.  The first would be that the media could help play a vital role in the definition of one's body image.  Being able to see specific and certain patterns of food consumption or the lack of it repeated can impact how teens perceive both.  At the same time, if media depictions of food consumption can reflect positive choices, it can be hoped that teens could mirror this.  If teens are not exposed to what constitute healthy food choices, they could could receive this information elsewhere, but it makes the temptation to succumb to poor choices closer to reality.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a good question. First, the most important point to underline is that teens watch a lot of TV and listen to a lot of radio. Second, the media has great influence on children. In the light of this point, we need to ask ourselves what the media portrays in terms of food choices. The point is clear. Most shows have fast foods like hamburgers, hotdogs, chips and soda. Part of the reason for this is because these are the types of foods that are affordable to teens. There is another point to consider. Often times, the movies have bad examples of alcohol and how cool it is for teens to engage in these practices.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

With the internet and social networking, teens have more information available to them about everything, including food.  However, commercials and ads focus mostly on the fast-food industry which is high in fat, sugar, and calories.  It is common knowledge that even educated people know what is "right" but "convenience" often wins, and repetition (of commercials, jingles, etc.) breeds familiarity.  Consequently, fast food places have job security.  That having been said, there are now many more healthy food choices at fast food establishments.

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

I think good food is one of the great joys of life, but it's a shame that society has put so much pressure on people to earn two salaries that now families are too tired to cook. Good warming wholesome food like homemade vegetable soups, casseroles and stews and fruit purees are just too time-consuming. Moms reach for the mart equivalent, but these are dosed with oils,fats,sugars and salt. Filling wholesome meals and lots of fresh air and exercise to burn them off seems to be a thing of the past.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I would have to agree with the above posters, there is an abundance of advertising for fast food chains and convenience foods on today's TV ads. I think that by observing todays teens and looking at all the studies that are out there on childhood obesity it is safe to say that these ads are having a negative affect on the diets of teens.

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The media is a huge part of our lives and not only does this impact what shows we watch, but this also impacts what kind of food we eat. All the time you would see in the kids shows pizzas and tacos and fast food like that when in reality we know that that is bad for us. Even as a teenager I notice how most of the teenagers in school sometimes choose pizza over an apple. This represents how the kids make bad choices based on teenagers. In some shows it looks cool to be a rebel, but in real life this will just result in issues for you. 

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thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

What an interesting question. This is definitely a topic that is not discussed often, but I truly feel that it should be more, because in all honesty, I wholeheartedly feel that the media greatly affects a teen's food choices. In this day and age teens are spending more time watching tv, browsing the web, etc, than ever before. This means that they have more opportunities to be exposed and influenced by advertisements. This makes it easier for companies like Mc Donald's and Wendy's to target and attract teens. By providing cheap, "good" food, teens find it more convenient and cheaper to buy food from there than say, a Whole Foods. That's just my two cents. 

Hope this helps!

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jenny2010 | Student | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

i agree with all of these posts, that the media can influence teens to eat junk food. however i also think that there is so much pressure in the media to be thin. everywhere you look there are scarily skinny people in the media. there are always headlines saying that 'such and such a celeb has put on so much weight'. people tend to forget that there is so much bombardment on teens thses days. as a teen living in the UK i find it impossible to flick through a magazine or newspaper without being confronted by some sort of attack on teens. headlines range from, '6/10 british teens are obese', to 'levels of teen anorexia are rising'. i think the media has a lot to answer for. teens are either critised for being too fat or told that they have eating disorders. as adults in the media or in the public eye people need to start taking responsability for what they are saying and think about the effects of it before they splash across front covers about 'miricale diet' and '25 stone teen'.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Media refers to channels of mass communication such as TV, newspapers, and other periodicals. All channels of mass communication are presumably intended to present their audience with contents like news, articles, and other items directed toward entertaining them with objective information. However, these also contain a large amount of advertising designed to make the audience buy and use different products. Frequently these advertisements become the main purpose and source of revenue of many of the media channels.

While, some advertisements is useful, it is also possible for advertisers to persuade people to buy and use their products which they may not really require, or which may be even harmful to them. Advertisement of junk food is one such example of advertisement hurting the interest of the people.

Teens and younger children are particularly hurt by such advertisement because they are exposed a lot to TV advertisement, and at their age they are more likely to be carried away by the hidden emotional appeal of the advertisement. At that the children are often not able to emotionally distinguish the reality of this world and the world represented in the advertisement. So when they see the advertisement depicting other attractive people consuming, enjoying, and benefiting in many different ways from consuming a particular type of food or using a particular product, they are attracted to eat that food or buy that product, without realizing that their choices are being manipulated by the advertisement.

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write2life | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

If you were to take a survey of kids ages 13 to 19 on the type of foods they most enjoy, you would find that most of them eat foods that are advertised on television during prime time.  Have you ever noticed that the popular TV shows with kids have commercials about pizza, hamburgers, taco's and chicken?  Well, it's not by accident that the media is targeting this age group.  What we must do as responsible adults is educate our children on nutrition, food choices and healthy diets.