How does the media (in particular social media and television) influence food choices? What statistics reflect this?

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jraineharrison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Media affects children's food choices in many ways.  Children receive marketing messages through television, radio, games, toys, movies, and household goods, like promotional store items. Children even receive marketing messages at school. 

According to the American Psychological Association, television advertising and other forms of food marketing greatly impact childhood obesity. The more a child watches television, the more calories they consume. For every one hour of television watching, children consume an extra 48.7 calories. Moreover, food ads make up 50% of all adds on children's shows. Food ads also appear on educational TV in schools. The Channel One program has 2 out of 12 minutes of advertisements. Food ads also affect children on social media. Over 6 billion food ads were on Facebook in 2012. 

Public health groups often target the fast food industry's marketing to children. In 2012, fast food restaurants spent over $4.6 billion in advertising. However, there have been strides in improving the healthy nature of foods marketed to children, including providing healthier options in fast food meals.